The Winner Is…Shannon Sharpe | Stephen A. Smith’s ‘First Take Is Mollywhopping Skip Bayless’ ‘Undisputed’ In Ratings

According to a report by Front Office Sports, ESPN’s “First Take” with Stephen A. Smith is destroying FS1’s “Undisputed” with Skip Bayless. Over the first three months of the the football season “First Take” averaged 554,000 viewers versus 120,000 for “Undisputed.” The most recent two-week data also showed that showed that “First Take” drew five times more viewers than “Undisputed.” It’s a wrap. Shannon Sharpe is vindicated and Bayless is what we all know, a fraud.

Talking Head Show Wars

The much publicized departure of Shannon Sharpe from Bayless’ “Undisputed” to join “First Take” was billed as a war of the talking head shows.

Sharpe and Bayless reportedly were at odds over Bayless’ insensitive handling of the Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin incident. But there were many incidents where Bayless was just disrespectful to Sharpe, seemingly unaware that Sharpe was the reason people tuned into the show.

Complex recently named their 25 Most Entertaining Sports Media Personalities, Sharpe and Smith were Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. Bayless was 11th.

“[I] was there [FS1] for seven years, and then was out of work for a couple of months, and I didn’t really know what to expect,” Sharpe told Complex. “Then got a call from Stephen A [Smith] and he wanted me to join him on ‘First Take.’ And next thing you know, this happens. It’s been an amazing ride. I just try to be true to myself. I try to be fair to all the players, having been an ex-professional athlete myself and understanding that I am human. No matter how much money I make, no matter how good I am at a chosen sport, I’m still human.” 

Sharpe Is A Star

Morning talking head shows are all performative and you are trying to entertain an audience for a few hours. You get that feeling that Sharpe is comfortable at ESPN with Smith and the “First Take” host allows him to do his thing without feeling some type of way.

That was never really the case with Bayless. Whether it was the Hamlin situation or whenever he would break out the Hennessy and Black & Milds for a bit, Bayless always seemed uncomfortable and bothered. Sharpe is a star with a magnetic personality. That can bother some people.

Regardless, it seems like the rotating cast of characters on Bayless’ new iteration of “Undisputed,” whether it be Michael Irvin, Keyshawn Johnson, or Richard Sherman, aren’t enough to replace the star power of Sharpe. He’s shining on ESPN while Bayless is floundering.

Back to top