After orchestrating Max Kellerman’s removal from First Take about a month ago, due to numbers suggesting that viewers want Kellerman off — Stephen A. Smith is up for a surprise, as the show’s ratings have plummeted!
Stephen A. said on radio he saw numbers that suggested @FirstTake‘s viewers wanted Max Kellerman off. The early ratings say otherwise.— Bobby Burack (@burackbobby_) September 24, 2021
This week, First Take is losing to Get Up and NFL Live, in addition to PTI and ATH:
Get Up: 408k
NFL Live: 413k
During their five-year run, ESPN’s First Take dominated the industry and was the #1 sports talk show in the country. Following some chemistry issues and Stephen A.’s need to keep the show ‘fresh,’ he insisted on relieving Max of his duties as co-host, as he would later admit it in an interview following the cut:
The rumors are accurate in terms of me wanting him off the show, … A lot of people don’t realize not just the work that goes into it, but it’s a chemistry you have and sometimes it just stalls.Stephen A. Smith
While it is still too early to make any sensible conclusion about the show’s ratings because the NBA season isn’t in full swing, and the replacement for Max still hasn’t been found — ESPN should be worried because the once top show is performing the worst out of the pack.
The fact of the matter is, Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman had a great dynamic to their debate. SAS, obviously being the louder and more dominant host, cherished for his outlandish takes, and Max with his analytical and fact-driven takes.
The show’s current form is not getting the love SAS had hoped for, as it seems viewers don’t care too much about his one-sided takes and are hungry for an analytical sports debate.
First Take was one of the rare shows I followed religiously. And now, with Max gone, I miss the dynamic where Kellerman was oftentimes keeping Stephen A. in check. I miss the dynamic, and I miss the debates; I’ll definitely be watching out for Max’s replacement, and hopefully, we won’t be watching a one-man show.