Thursday, March 23, 2017

On The Air: First Take (2007)

ESPN's First Take, which spun from the ashes of Cold Pizza 10 years ago, is the network's marquee morning show, mostly a bully pulpit for its debaters, Max Kellerman (ex-Around the Horn, SportsNation) and beef jerky salesman Stephen A. Smith, a long time basketball analyst for the network better known now as more of Howard Cosell wanna-be. Kellerman joined the show a few months back, replacing Skip Bayless, who took the money and ran to Fox Sports 1.

Since returning to ESPN, Kellerman has been a model citizen for the most part, more mature than he was during his first tour of duty with the network more than a decade ago. Kellerman moved to First Take from SportsNation, which is based in California, where, up until recently, Kellerman was also doing a radio show for ESPN Radio (probably still does, via satellite). We've said enough about "Screamin' A." in this space. A poor man's Mike Francesa, Smith thinks he's all that and a bag of chips. Oh, he's a bag, alright. A bag of hot air that never empties. His Cosellian delivery grates on the senses.

In January, First Take "graduated", if you will, from ESPN2 to ESPN, with an eye toward improving the show's profile and ratings. A better idea would've been to deep-six Smith once and for all, replacing him with ex-WWE commentator Jonathan Coachman.

Speaking of WWE, former champ Paul "Triple H" LeVesque stopped by on Tuesday. "Screamin' A" was a fanboy, while Kellerman would've been better served if he & Molly Querin, the show's moderator, conducted the interview without Smith......

Here's an idea. Coachman is likely to be in Orlando for Wrestlemania next week, representing ESPN. Maybe he can take "Screamin' A" with him to get beaten down.......!

If you haven't figured it out yet, I'd take anyone over Smith as Kellerman's partner any day of the week.

Rating: A-.

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