ESPN reportedly has no plans for ex-'SC6' anchor Michael Smith and his $2.5 million salary

Alex Reimer
April 11, 2019 - 11:55 am

Jemele Hill was the lightning rod of ESPN’s short-lived “SC6” program. She was the one who feuded with the White House over whether Donald Trump is a white supremacist and got suspended for suggesting Cowboys fans boycott the team’s sponsors.

But in the aftermath of the show’s cancellation, Hill is the one who’s flourishing. Meanwhile, her more mild-mannered cohort, Michael Smith, is in professional no man’s land.

While Hill left ESPN –– and is now a staff writer for the Atlantic and a constant polarizing presence on social media –– Smith stayed at the WorldWide Leader. But he has nothing to do. According to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, there’s no plan for the final two years of Smith’s contract. He and Hill both signed four-year, $10 million deals when “SC6” was launched in 2017.

Over the last year, Smith has largely been absent from the ESPN airwaves, save for scant fill-in appearances on the network’s afternoon debate shows. He also co-hosts a weekly three-hour show on ESPN Radio every Sunday with Michael Eaves. 

Smith was offered a “small variety pack” of work on ESPN’s NFL coverage, Marchand reports, but the host declined the overture. 

ESPN surely loathes paying Smith $2.5 million to host a weekend radio show, and with his extensive background as an NFL reporter –– he predated Adam Schefter as one of Bristol’s NFL Insiders –– it’s strange they haven’t found a bigger role for him. Smith’s stint in highly paid limbo shows taking the safe route doesn’t always work out. Sometimes, it’s better to take risks and make noise, just like his former partner.