Skip Bayless Insists He’s Not a Troll: ‘I Know Nothing of Being the Bad Guy’

“Not one time did I ever contrive an opinion for ‘First Take’ in 12 years,” host of Fox Sports 1’s “Undisputed” tells TheWrap

Undisputed Skip Bayless Shannon Sharpe Fox Sports 1

Skip Bayless isn’t looking back on that old two-hour unscripted live debate show about the hottest sports topics of the day — he’s looking ahead to his new one.

“Format-wise, they’re the same show,” the ex-“First Take” host admitted to TheWrap about Fox Sports 1’s upcoming “Undisputed.”

But instead of Stephen A. Smith sitting across the table, it will be Shannon Sharpe — a “pretty easy” call for Bayless and reunited boss Jamie Horowitz, the polarizing TV personality said.

After all, Sharpe sat in for Smith almost a dozen times on the ESPN version of the morning show, and the NFL Hall-of-Famer didn’t miss a beat.

“He wasn’t good — he was great,” Bayless recalled. “We just knew we wanted Shannon Sharpe from Day 1.”

While Skip wouldn’t quite say if he personally handpicked Sharpe, the former newspaper man offered this: “Obviously, I signed off. ”

Of course, Skip and Shannon won’t be the only two people on the show prefaced by “Skip and Shannon.” Former South Florida sports-radio personality Joy Taylor will serve as their moderator, and the gang is looking forward to booking interesting guests right out of the gate.

For example, Bayless expects NFL cornerback Richard Sherman to appear within the first couple weeks of “Undisputed.” Hopefully, that guest spot turns out better than the infamous trainwreck from Bayless’s “First Take” days.

Skip and Sherman’s 2013 argument was so harsh and personal that it nearly led to the cancellation of the iconic Disney-owned morning show, Bayless recently revealed to TheWrap.

Either way, Skip can hold his own with the All-Pro — and with the social media trolls, whom he claims to completely ignore, by the way. That’s at least partially because Bayless doesn’t see himself as playing a villainous role, nor even devil’s advocate.

“From my heart, I know nothing of being ‘the bad guy,’” he said when we asked. “You can ask anybody who’s ever sat in any of my pre-show meetings.”

“My opinions from the night before … are in concrete,” Bayless shot down the low-level conspiracy theory. “Not one time did I ever contrive an opinion for ‘First Take’ in 12 years.”

Bayless and Sharpe will be not contriving opinions for FS1’s “Undisputed” starting Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.