We’re less than a month until Shannon Sharpie’s tenure as a member of ESPN’s First Take and he’s already proven to be a ratings draw. Per reports by Sports TV Ratings, last Monday’s episode following Week 1 of the NFL season drew 626,000 viewers while the Tuesday episode following Aaron Rodger’s season-ending injury drew 717,000 viewers. Undisputed in contrast drew 185,000 viewers and 118,000 viewers respectively.
This week's ratings saw the same story. This Monday’s edition of First Take attracted 726,000 viewers while Undisputed only drew 162,000 viewers. Tuesday First Take drew 620,000 viewers and Undisputed paled in comparison with 114,000 viewers.
Stephen A. Smith's recruiting Shannon to be a First Take contributor has proven to be fruitful, maintaining the show’s dominance in the morning. According to Smith's comments on The Joe Budden Podcast Sharpe was being pushed out of Fox Sports 1, which should make First Take's ratings wins an even sweeter victory.
“I didn't look at it that way,” Smith said, responding to a musing by Budden that his high-profile recruiting of Sharpe was a competitive jab at Bayless. “I would've looked at it that way if Shannon left of his own volition. I'm telling you he was pushed out.”
Smith continued, “But, then again, that's his story to tell. But, I'm telling you what I know and I'm giving you facts. And so, when I saw that…it wasn't just that I know the brother's talented. It wasn't just that I know that he's a three-time Super Bowl champion and an NFL Hall of Famer. It wasn't just that I knew he was in television the last six years. I saw me from the standpoint of I was let go in 2009 and left for dead.”
Skip Bayless might very well be having his “Last Dance” season as the Godfather of sports debate television.