ESPN2’s two-hour weekday morning live debate show, First Take, will add an additional live half-hour afternoon show beginning on Thursday, February 7, featuring featured commentators Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith, along with host Cari Champion. The half-hour shows that will start airing on ESPN at 3:30pm ET on Thursday, February 7, will be in addition to the two-hour morning shows that air Monday through Friday from 10:00am – 12:00pm ET on ESPN2. The limited run of the afternoon shows will conclude on March 8.
“First Take is intentionally designed to showcase the opinions of Skip and Stephen A.—both of whom present their arguments in a colorful, energetic way—and the ratings and social engagement indicate that we have a growing, diverse audience that really connects with this show,”said Jamie Horowitz, ESPN’s vice president of original programming and production. “All of the top 10 highest rated shows have aired since changing to the all-debate format so adding this afternoon show is designed to capitalize on that ratings momentum and expand the show’s audience.”
First Take’s ratings climbed in 2012 with a 21% year-over-year increase among all viewers. First Take is also up 32% year-over-year in the coveted male 18-34 demographic.
“First and foremost, First Take is a debate show so the lively exchange of strong opinions is at the very core of the program,” said Marcia Keegan, vice president, production. “We have had success with afternoon time slots for some of our other shows, like Mike and Mike in the Morning, and given the many networks and platforms that we program for at ESPN, we are confident in this move to expand First Take for the people who enjoy this type of lively discourse.”
About First Take
First Take is a daily studio show focused on debating the hottest current topics in sports. The show is hosted by Cari Champion and designed to present and challenge the opinions of featured commentators Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith, as well as various guest analysts. First Take doesn’t cover all the day’s sports stories – just the most debatable ones. It’s not a show about nuance and ambiguity – it’s a show with strong opinions that must be defined and defended. It’s real. It’s debate. The two-hour show airs weekdays at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN2.
Fans can follow First Take on Facebook (facebook.com/firsttake) and Twitter @ESPN_FirstTake, @RealSkipBayless, @StephenASmith and @CariChampion.