“Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith” has been canceled, ESPN announced late Friday. There will be much bandied about concerning why. Bottom line: The live-audience show was too expensive for the ratings it was getting on ESPN2. “Yes, it’s true, and I support ESPN’s decision,” Smith told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Doing a brand new show on ESPN2 was a tremendous challenge and I’m proud of what we accomplished. I’ve learned a great deal. I’ve also learned there’s limits to what I can withstand in regards to my schedule. Now I move on to future challenges – while enthusiastically embracing old ones like writing for The Inquirer on a more frequent basis. This is not an end for me. This is just the beginning. I’m just getting started.”
QF was a great platform for a unique point of view in sports media, and his team – his very diverse team – was among the best in sports television. Give Stephen A. props for changing the game – in front and behind the camera. The show will be missed. Tonight, he told me simply: “I did the best I could.”
Quite frankly, yes, you did.
Here’s ESPN’s Press Release:
> Date: January 12, 2007 2:11:42 PM EST
> Subject: NEW ROLE FOR ESPN’S STEPHEN A. SMITH
> For Immediate Release
> January 12, 2007
> NEW ROLE FOR ESPN’S STEPHEN A. SMITH
> Expanded Appearances on SportsCenter, NBA, ESPNEWS Plus Four Interview Specials; ESPN The Magazine & ESPN.com Opportunities; Last Quite Frankly Show Today
> Stephen A. Smith, ESPN’s outspoken and insightful commentator, will expand his presence across numerous ESPN entities as part of a new role, it was announced by Norby Williamson, ESPN Executive Vice President, Remote and Studio Production. Smith will be featured more regularly and extensively on SportsCenter, NBA studio programming and on ESPNEWS, as well as host four TV interview specials surrounding big events. In addition, opportunities for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com columns will be explored. In turn, today will be the last episode of Quite Frankly, the weeknight interview program that Smith has hosted since its August 2005 debut.
> “Stephen A. connects with fans because he brings great energy, knowledge and strong opinions,” Williamson said. “While Quite Frankly delivered strong interviews and discussion, this new role will provide a better showcase for Stephen A.’s impactful voice to be heard across numerous forms of ESPN media.”
> In addition to the four interview specials, Smith will appear as a leading NBA voice for news, issues and analysis across all of ESPN’s studio programming, including SportsCenter, NBA studio shows and ESPNEWS.
> Stephen A. Smith joined ESPN in 2003 as studio analyst on NBA Shootaround and NBA Fastbreak and as a reporter for other studio programming. Quite Frankly debuted in August 2005 as a 6:30 p.m. ET weeknight series, and was moved to the late-night time period (11 p.m. or following live events) in January 2006. Smith has been a sports writer at the Philadelphia Inquirer since 1994.
> Prior to ESPN, he covered news and sports at the New York Daily News (1993-94) and worked at the Greensboro News and Record (1992-93) and the Winston-Salem Journal (1991-92). Since 1999, he has also been active in television and radio, primarily in Philadelphia, but also on Fox Sports Net, Fox News Channel, Fox Sports Radio and CNN/SI, in addition to appearances on ESPN Radio.