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Stephen A Smith: First Take Changes ‘ESPN’s Decision, Not Mine’

“Smith was adamant on Monday that he couldn’t talk about the story until a decision was made, but he was clear in who had the final call.”

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Courtesy: ESPN

A new era of First Take is beginning on ESPN, one that Stephen A. Smith is adamant he didn’t push for. The commentator appeared on New York’s Hot 97 this week before ESPN’s announcement that Max Kellerman is moving to their morning radio lineup.

Smith was adamant on Monday that he couldn’t talk about the story until a decision was made, but he was clear in who had the final call.

“It’s not official yet,” Smith said. “I can assure you that the decision is ESPN, it is not mine. ESPN makes that call, and when they make a decision, obviously, there’s nowhere to run from the issues. I damn sure won’t, and I’ll be here to discuss it.”

The network made it official on Tuesday afternoon, moving Kellerman to work on ESPN Radio with Keyshawn Johnson and Jay Williams. Rumors are already swirling regarding Kellerman’s replacement. The previous statement by Smith contradicts Andrew Marchand’s column in The New York Post. Marchand writes that Smith was the driving force behind Kellerman leaving First Take.

“Smith has wanted Kellerman off First Take for years,” Marchand wrote in a piece detailing the move. “Though it wasn’t personal, according to sources, Kellerman has a ‘smartest guy in the room’ attitude, and Smith wanted more of a debating challenger. And ultimately, he wanted it to be him versus the world.”

This claim matches up with other interviews Smith has conducted where he notes the philosophical differences he and Kellerman bring to a debate desk. Marchand drove home the point with another sourced nugget.

“Smith has told everyone who needs to know, including Kellerman, that it didn’t work well enough, according to sources,” Marchand reported in the piece.

The new era of First Take marches on as Smith leads the way without a firm replacement for Kellerman.

Sports TV News

Marcus Spears: I Would Put Mike Greenberg In The Hospital

“I love him, he’s my brother, but I would try and saw him in half because he has that stank arrogance of a quarterback.”

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Dan Patrick had ESPN’s Marcus Spears on his show Tuesday and presented him with a topic that was very interesting.

Let’s be real, we all want to hit our co-workers from time to time, and Dan Patrick presented Spears with this hypothetical scenario for three of his fellow co-workers at ESPN.

“If I gave ya a free shot, would it be at Keyshawn Johnson, Ryan Clark, or Dan Orlovsky?” said Patrick.

“Dan Orlovsky, and I would try and saw him in half DP,” Spears replied. “I gotta be honest with you.”

“I love him, he’s my brother, but I would try and saw him in half because he has that stank arrogance of a quarterback. That comes off and sometimes you just want to let him know, you really aren’t an athlete.”

Dan Patrick then took the question up a level by adding a fourth option to the mix.

“What if I threw Greeny (Mike Greenberg) in there, would you choose him?”

Spears replied, “Yeah, I would want to see how long he would be in the hospital.”

The answer caused Patrick to bust out in laughter, which in turn made Marcus Spears laugh.

It will be interesting to see how the challenge and answer play out on the NFL Live and Get Up sets. Marcus Spears is one of the most likable personalities at ESPN. Certainly, there will be no bad blood. It will be curious if anyone has a challenge to throw back at him though.

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Sports TV News

Viewership Growth Continues For First Take, Get Up

The success of both shows has lead to ESPN being the top cable network from 8:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m in the key demographic of 18-34 year olds.

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Via ESPNPressroom

ESPN is seeing growth in two of their signature morning shows. Get Up, with Mike Greenberg and First Take featuring Stephen A. Smith and Molly Qerim Rose are both seeing a rise in audience.

Get Up‘s audience is up a significant 27% percent compared to 2020. November was the most-watched month in the history of the show according to Nielsen. This is the ninth consecutive month that the show has shown year-over-year growth.

First Take is doing well in its own right, up 19% compared to 2020. The show has shown year-over-year growth in 6 out of the last 7 months.

The success of both shows has led to ESPN being the top cable network from 8:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m in the key demographic of 18-34 year olds.

Get Up and First Take continue to bring top level information, insight and entertainment for our fans. Making the four hour block appointment television,” said David Roberts, ESPN senior vice president, NBA & studio production. “Beyond the 8 a.m.-12 p.m. viewership success, segments from both shows also perform extremely well with fans across social and digital channels, expanding their reach in meaningful ways.”

There was some question as to how First Take would do following Max Kellerman’s removal from the show back in August, but it seems that the format of rotating panelists on the show alongside Smith and Qerim Rose has been a success.

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Sports TV News

Robert Griffin III Book To Expose Washington Football Team

I want you to take this journey with me, as I walk you through one of the most dysfunctional franchises in all of sports.”

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Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Robert Griffin III has a new book coming, and the topic is one that has been in the news as of late.

Griffin announced Surviving Washington on Twitter. The book is focused on the issues he had with the Washington NFL team at the beginning of his pro career. It’s set for an August 2022 release.

“Now, every experience that I’ve ever had has made me a better husband, a better father, and a better player. But I want you to take this journey with me, as I walk you through one of the most dysfunctional franchises in all of sports,” Griffin said in a video announcing the book. “I’m going to tell you the truth about what happened in that playoff game in 2012 against Seattle. I’m going to detail the medical mismanagement that I received during my time in Washington. I will open your eyes to the sexual harassment that permeated the walls of that building, and give you a deep dive into a power struggle between one of the most powerful coaches in all of sports and an owner that many of you want gone. They say, ‘The truth will set you free,’ so here it is, unfiltered. Pre-order now.”

Robert Griffin III said that signing with ESPN didn’t mean his playing days were over. He ever said that he would consider a return to Washington if that is what kept him in the NFL. That is obviously not likely to be happening anymore after openly blasting the owner. It could also rub NFL Comissioner Roger Goodell and other team owners the wrong way as they try to make the investigation into Washington’s corporate culture go away.

If Robert Griffin III is ending his playing career with the release of this book, it isn’t exactly bad news for ESPN. The former QB won rave reviews as a college football game analyst this season. He has also done well with studio coverage of the NFL. Surely the network would find a way to use him more.

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