Skip Bayless leaving ESPN, ‘First Take’ gig

Neil Best,

ESPN announced Tuesday that Skip Bayless, the popular but controversial co-panelist on its “First Take” debate show, will leave the network when his contract expires at the end of August.

Bayless’ last appearance on “First Take” will be the day after the end of the NBA Finals in June.

“We want to thank Skip for his many contributions to ESPN,” the network said in a statement. “His hard work and talent have benefited ESPN for 12 years.”

ESPN is believed to have wanted to retain Bayless on “First Take,” where he works alongside Stephen A. Smith. The show is expected to go on with a replacement.

Bayless widely is expected to land at FS1 in a yet-to-be-determined role. Bayless is the latest high-profile personality to leave ESPN.

On Monday, it was reported that “Monday Night Football” play-by-play man Mike Tirico will leave for NBC.