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Cari Champion Leaves First Take

Jason Barrett

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Cari Champion has had the Herculean task of moderating the quagmire that is First Take, sitting between Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith. After nearly 3-years of playing traffic cop on the ESPN debate style show, Champion is leaving First Take to become a SportsCenter anchor. Debbie Emery of The Wrap reports that Champion will join the morning edition of SportsCenter sometime next month plus “interact” with ABC’s Good Morning America.

She is expected to work on morning segments of the broadcast beginning in mid-July, particularly a series of upcoming “interactions” about sports and entertainment with members of ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“I grew up watching ‘SportsCenter’ — it is the flagship show so I am living the dream,” Champion told TheWrap. “When I first started working here, I would casually petition for it — but there’s always a long line.”

In addition to moderating First Take over the last two and half years, Champion was the subject of some insane tweets from comedian Artie Lange which prompted ESPN to ban him from appearing on any of its platforms. He later apologized while Cari took the high road on the whole incident.

As Champion leaves First Take, there’s no word on who will take her role as moderator. The person who replaces her will need a strong stomach and personality to put up with the opinions from Bayless and Smith.

Cari explains the decision to leave First Take in her espnW “Be Honest” podcast.

In the meantime, the former Tennis Channel host and entertainment reporter moves on to the next phase of her career where she should thrive and succeed. SportsCenter is a natural progression for Champion after being the moderator of First Take and the move is a well deserved promotion after enduring her time in Embrace Debate Purgatory.

Credit to Awful Announcing who originally published this article

Sports TV News

NFL Sunday Ticket Crowded With More Issues in Week 3

A quick survey of the official DirecTV twitter account on Monday shows dozens of replies to customers complaining that the service did not work for them.

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The NFL Sunday Ticket issues that appeared in the first two weeks of the NFL season continued to show themselves in Week 3.

In the first two weeks of the season, DirecTV was lambasted online for not being able to provide customers access to the entire NFL slate as the service promises. On Sunday, it was much of the same. A quick survey of the official DirecTV twitter account on Monday shows dozens of replies to customers complaining that the service did not work for them.

DirecTV has one more year of the service’s distribution rights before it will move on to another company. The new company that will host the NFL Sunday Ticket feature has not been announced.

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Sports TV News

Thursday Night Football Ratings Slightly Dip In Second Week

Even with the ratings dip, Thursday Night Football was stilly easily the top-rated program of the evening. Law & Order: SVU was second place with 5.5 million viewers.

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Thursday Night Football

Amazon Prime Video saw ratings for Thursday Night Football drop from 13 million for its debut broadcast featuring the Chiefs and Chargers to 11 million for the Browns and Steelers.

The 11 million viewers, however, is a 39% increase over Thursday Night Football from week 3 of last year, which saw the Carolina Panthers face the Houston Texans exclusively on NFL Network. Amazon’s internal numbers, paired with Nielsen’s estimations for the Cleveland and Pittsburgh markets suggest 13.6 million viewers watched the week contest.

Even with the ratings dip, Thursday Night Football was stilly easily the top-rated program of the evening. Law & Order: SVU was second place with 5.5 million viewers.

Another interesting note, according to Nielsen’s ratings, the average viewer of Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video is 46 years old. That average is six years younger than the average viewer on tradition television.

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Sports TV News

JJ Redick Gets New Contract, New Role At ESPN

“The deal comes after Turner had expressed interest in luring him away from Bristol.”

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Basketball fans will see a lot more of JJ Redick on ESPN when the new NBA season begins. The journeyman guard debuted at the network last year and while he made a big impression, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that Redick’s role is about to get a lot more substantial.

ESPN has signed JJ Redick to a three-year contract extension. The deal comes after Turner had expressed interest in luring him away from Bristol.

The new deal will see Redick leaving the studio to be a game analyst. He will partner with Richard Jefferson in a three-man booth. Who will handle play-by-play is yet to be decided, but ESPN executives reportedly want to build around the chemistry Redick and Jefferson have shown.

He will also be part of the network’s NBA Draft coverage. Specific duties for that broadcast are yet-to-be-announced.

Finally, ESPN is making sure that JJ Redick continues to create viral moments for First Take. The new deal stipulates that Redick remains part of the regular rotation of analysts joining Stephen A. Smith, Molly Qerim and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, but no specific schedule was outlined in Marchand’s reporting.

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