One of ESPN's most recognizable personalities is leaving the network

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Skip Bayless, the fiery and controversial co-host of the ESPN talk show "First Take," will leave ESPN in August, when his contract expires.

ESPN announced the news in a press release on Tuesday:

Skip Bayless has decided to leave ESPN when his contract expires at the end of August. His final appearance on First Take will be the day after the NBA Finals conclude. We want to thank Skip for his many contributions to ESPN. His hard work and talent have benefited ESPN for 12 years.

Although the news of Bayless' departure from ESPN is still fresh, there is already rampant speculation that he will land at Fox Sports. A source told Deadspin that Bayless will join Fox Sports, though neither Bayless nor Fox Sports has confirmed this report.

Should Bayless join Fox Sports, he would become the latest in a series of sports media personality to jump from ESPN to Fox, following the path of similarly divisive pundits Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock.

At Fox, Bayless would also be reunited with former ESPN producer and "First Take" creator Jamie Horowitz.

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In March, Horowitz told Sporting News that FS1 is interested in "all the stars" — including Bayless. "Of course, I'm interested in Skip," Horowitz said.

"I look at these 'opinionists' like superstars in the NBA. You can probably name the dozen superstars who are out there. It's like asking the (Boston) Celtics, 'Are you interested in Kevin Durant?' Yes, we're interested in all the superstars."

In November, Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch reported that ESPN was prepared to offer Bayless a contract worth close to $4 million per year.

On Tuesday, Deitsch reported that "First Take" will continue and that ESPN is already interviewing a list of finalists to replace Bayless.

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See the richest MLB players this season

Highest paid MLB players - 2016
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One of ESPN's most recognizable personalities is leaving the network

T-25. Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees & James Shields, San Diego Padres: $21,000,000

(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

24. Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles: $21,118,782

(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)

23. Jacoby Ellsbury, New York Yankees: $21,142,857

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

22. Jayson Werth, Washington Nationals: $21,571,428

(Photo by John McDonnell / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

21. Carl Crawford, Los Angeles Dodgers: $21,607,142

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

20. Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers: $21,857,142

(Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

T-18. Jose Reyes, Colorado Rockies & Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees: $22,000,000

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

17. Justin Upton, Detroit Tigers: $22,125,000

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

16. Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals: $22,142,857

(Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

15. Hanley Ramirez, Boston Red Sox: $22,750,000

(Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

14. Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins: $23,000,000

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

13. Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees: $23,125,000

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

12. Cole Hamels, Texas Rangers: $23,500,000

(Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)

11. Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners: $24,000,000

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

T-7. C.C Sabathia, New York Yankees; Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies; Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels; Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs: $25,000,000

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

6. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners: $25,857,142

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

T-4. Miguel Cabrera & Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers: $28,000,000

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

3. David Price, Boston Red Sox: $30,000,000

 (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

2. Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks: $34,000,000

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

1. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers: $34,571,428

(Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)


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