First Take (TV series)
|Starring||Stephen A. Smith
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||2 hours|
|Original release||May 7, 2007 – present|
|Preceded by||Cold Pizza|
First Take is an American morning sports talk program on ESPN2. One episode airs each weekday from Monday through Friday, with the live episode airing from 10 a.m. ET until noon, along with a full encore after His & Hers.
The show is broadcast from ESPN's headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut in Studio E. It also has "roadshow" broadcasts for events such as the weeks of the College Football Playoff, the Super Bowl and the NBA Finals from the cities where those events take place.
The entire show, without commercials, is available as an audio-only podcast the afternoon of the same day, following the broadcast of the recorded show.
Analysts and long-time sports reporters Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith (along with guests) are featured, providing roundtable and often adversarial daily debate—often known as "hot takes"—on current sports topics of interest to the United States audience.
- Skip Bayless: (2007–16)
- Molly Qerim: (2015–present)
- Cari Champion: (2012–15)
- Jay Crawford: (2007–12)
- Dana Jacobson: (2007–11)
- Reischea Canidate: (2009–11)
Frequent guest analysts
- Herm Edwards: NFL analyst
- Darren Woodson: NFL analyst
- Danny Kanell: College football analyst
- Chris Broussard: Basketball analyst
- Tim Legler: Basketball analyst
- Ryan Clark: football analyst
Former guest analysts/hosts
- Rob Parker: Analyst/Guest Host (suspended from ESPN on December 20, 2012; did not return to network)
In August 2011, the show underwent a drastic format change. The former 1st and 10 segments were removed, Bayless' contribution to the show was greatly increased, and the show gained an increased focus on debate throughout the show. The ratings for the show have shown a drastic increase as a result, with a reported 58% increase for the first 3 months of 2012, compared to the same time in 2011.
On April 30, 2012, it was announced on-air that regular guest contributor Stephen A. Smith would be joining First Take on a permanent, five-day-per-week basis. On occasions he is reporting elsewhere; Rob Parker was frequently featured as his replacement until December 20, 2012, when he was suspended for comments made about Robert Griffin III; he would not return, as ESPN allowed his contract to expire, rather than re-sign him.
On July 23, 2012, the show debuted a new set and a new opening song Every Word Great by Wale Ft. Stalley. It now features an open slide showing Bayless and Smith arriving at campus. They are still in Studio E but they are in the middle of it, with a new desk.
On January 13, 2015, the first special edition of the show aired after the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship titled First Take: College Football Championship Post Game Special.
On June 19, 2015, Champion left First Take due to her promotion to SportsCenter anchor. The following month, she was replaced on an interim basis by Molly Qerim, who was promoted to permanent host on September 15.
Through the show's success, it has also experienced substantial controversy and faced increasing criticism, mostly concerning perceived sensationalism.
Among claims have been that First Take has used hot button racial issues to create inflammatory debates and increase ratings. Most notably, during a discussion regarding Washington Redskins Quarterback Robert Griffin III, frequent guest Rob Parker asked whether Griffin III was a "brother" or a "cornball brother." When pressed by host Cari Champion as to what that meant, Parker mentioned that Griffin III had a white fiance and mentioned claims that Griffin III was a Republican. In response, Bayless asked whether Griffin III's braids did anything to assuage Parker's concerns.
The show has been criticized for what is perceived by many as its excessive coverage of the career of Tim Tebow. During his tenure with the Jets, in which he did not start in a game, and threw just eight passes the entire season, Tebow was nonetheless often a leading topic.
As Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James began a series of playoff appearances with the Cavs, host Skip Bayless became well known for his belief that James had been overrated by the media and not received enough criticism for his team's playoff failures. Bayless has himself been criticized by fans as well as members of the media for exaggerating James' failures and diminishing his successes. In an exchange with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Cuban argued that Bayless had reduced his analysis of the 2011 and 2012 NBA finals series to subjective and limited assessments of player psyche, and had not even considered the offensive and defensive strategies used by the teams in each series.
On July 29, 2014, ESPN suspended co-host Stephen A. Smith from the show for one week over his controversial comments regarding the NFL's decision to suspend Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for the first two games of the 2014 season as a result of his domestic violence incident with his fiancée in February 2014.
- "Rob Parker suspended by ESPN for 30 days". ESPN.com. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
- Chris Chase, USA TODAY Sports (13 December 2012). "ESPN's Rob Parker on RGIII: 'Is he a brother or is he a cornball brother?'". USA TODAY. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
- "Rob Parker's contract not renewed by ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
- Crawford leaving ESPN First Take after 9 years. http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/trending/post/_/id/4092/first-take-says-farewell-to-jay-crawford
- Cari Champion: New Host of ESPN TV Show First Take http://www.thebiglead.com/index.php/2012/09/10/cari-champion-new-host-of-espn-tv-show-first-take/
- "First Take: College Football Championship Post Game Special -". Archived from the original on 13 January 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
- "ESPN2 Schedule - Are You Watching This?!". Are You Watching This?!. Archived from the original on 13 January 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
- Farrar, Doug (2012-12-20). "ESPN’s Rob Parker suspended just 30 days for offensive comments about Robert Griffin III". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
- Farrar, Doug (2012-12-13). "ESPN’s Rob Parker says ridiculous things about RG3, takes ‘First Take’ to new levels of depravity". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
- "How ESPN Ditched Journalism And Followed Skip Bayless To The Bottom: A Tim Tebow Story". Deadspin.com. November 12, 2012. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
- "Skip Bayless: LeBron has work left - ESPN". ESPN.com. 2012-11-07. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
- "Here Are All Of LeBron's Unspectacular 45 Points". Deadspin.com. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
- Dwyer, Kelly (2013-05-31). "Mark Cuban absolutely destroys ESPN’s Skip Bayless on air, Skip Bayless doesn’t seem to care (VIDEO) | Ball Don't Lie". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
- Bien, Louis. "A complete timeline of the Ray Rice assault case". SBNation.com. Retrieved 2016-02-12.