Report: ESPN Exec Complained Jemele Hill and Michael Smith’s “SportsCenter” Was “Too Black”

Their short-lived "SC6” edition of the show was reportedly also accused of being too liberal.

Failed "SportsCenter" Hosts Jemele Hill and Michael Smith May Reunite After ESPN
Michael Smith and Jemele Hill on "SportsCenter." (Photo by Bruce Yeung/NBAE via Getty Images)
NBAE/Getty Images

The short-lived edition of SportsCenter that featured Jemele Hill and Michael Smith as hosts, SC6, was once called “too black” by an ESPN executive, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The remark, which was allegedly made by ESPN VP of content Dave Roberts (who is African-American), came around the same time Hill left the show which some had started to refer to as WokeCenter for its liberal leanings.

During their SC6 broadcasts, Hill and Smith would touch on topics outside of sports, a tendency which did little to help their ratings or endear them to their audience.

It also didn’t help them much with their bosses at the Worldwide Leader.

“It’s not that they were too woke, or too black, the problem was they were too new,” a veteran senior executive from ESPN told THR. “They were too unfamiliar to the 6 p.m. audience. From the second they started they were up against internal crap, the traditionalists shitting on them, and they faced harsh criticism externally. It was panic from moment one. And the network didn’t do a good job of defending and supporting them.”

Since replacing Smith and Hill with Sage Steele and Kevin Negandhi, SportsCenter has done slightly better in the ratings department.

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