• Loading stock data...
Thursday, June 13, 2024

New ‘Undisputed’ Closed Gap With ‘First Take’ In Premiere Week

  • Skip Bayless’ revamped show jumped from 78,000 on Thursday to 126,000 viewers on Friday, his second-biggest audience since returning.
  • Stephen A. Smith’s “First Take” viewership dipped from 336,000 on Thursday to 307,000 on Friday.
Fox Sports

Skip Bayless’ revamped “Undisputed Live” on FS1 started to close the ratings gap against Stephen A. Smith’s rival “First Take” on ESPN at the end of its premiere week.

On Thursday, Bayless’ weekday “embrace debate” show averaged 91,000 viewers vs. Smith’s 336,000, according to sources. 

But on Friday, with NFL Insider Josina Anderson making her debut, “Undisputed” pulled 126,000 viewers vs. 307,000 for “First Take” — the second-biggest TV audience for Bayless since he returned from a two-month hiatus on Aug. 28, with a new cast including Michael Irvin, Keyshawn Johnson, and Richard Sherman. 

The rebooted show’s Monday premiere drew 131,000 viewers to 448,000 for “First Take,” but by Wednesday plunged to 78,000 viewers vs. 423,000.

“That [Wednesday number] was almost impossible to believe,” warned one source. “That’s former fans actively choosing not to watch.”

Friday’s audience was still below the 154,000 viewers that “Undisputed: Skip and Shannon” averaged during former co-host Shannon Sharpe’s final episodes in June, and “First Take” continues to average nearly three times the audience of Bayless’ “Undisputed Live.”

Stephen A Smith vs. Skip Bayless

Skip Bayless’ Revamped Show Falls Short Of ‘First Take’ In Ratings

Skip Bayless’ revamped show has not resonated in TV ratings race.
September 1, 2023

It’s difficult to draw conclusions from one week of ratings — especially since the new NFL season won’t kick off until Thursday night. 

Part of the reason for the 71-year-old Bayless’ nine TV lives is his support of the Dallas Cowboys. The first win, or loss, by America’s Team could drive “Undisputed Live” viewership into the 200K-plus range.

With Anderson, Rachel Nichols, Nick Wright, Emmanuel Acho, and Lil Wayne joining the cast, the new and improved “Undisputed Live” is still finding its footing. Bayless had a rocky first week trying to juggle the moderator and opinionist roles. He also inexplicably took a back seat to opinionated cast members like Irvin.

But Sharpe himself was visibly rusty on Labor Day as he joined Smith’s rotating crew of guest debaters on “First Take.”

The six-year veteran of “Undisputed” accidentally called Smith “Skip” not once, but twice. 

On Tuesday, Smith wore a name tag to goof on his new co-host. “Hello, my name is Stephen A,” read the tag.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Sage Steele Claims in Suit That Her Agents Prioritized Relationship With ESPN Over Her

She says CAA chose its relationship over ESPN over advocating for her.

ESPN Extension Could Set Up Shannon Sharpe As Stephen A. Smith’s Successor

Sharpe is writing one of the great career comebacks in sports TV history.
Jan 3, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; General view of the NFL shield logo signage before the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field.

Odds Stacked Against NFL in Multibillion-Dollar Sunday Ticket Trial

Why the class action trial does not look promising for the league.

After Long-Term French Open Deal, What’s Next for TNT Sports?

A 10-year rights deal for the French Open immediately becomes the longest in Warner Bros. Discovery’s portfolio.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Stanley Cup Final a Clash of Vastly Different Markets


Featured Today

Jan 7, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter (11) takes a three-point shot against the Golden State Warriors during the second half at Chase Center.

‘Bound to Happen’: The Age of the Sports Betting Scandal Has Arrived

A banishment, betting scheme, and guilty plea all in one scandal-filled span.
June 8, 2024

‘Experimental in Nature’: The Rapid, Confounding Rise of Streaming Bundles

Here’s why confusion continues to outweigh solutions in the streaming package boom.
June 2, 2024

The Nostalgia Market: Michael Jordan’s Memorabilia Remains Coveted, With Caveats

Due to scarcity, and sometimes, items’ undisclosed whereabouts, this world has limitations.
June 1, 2024

The Pac-12 Wants Everybody to Know That It Isn’t Dead Yet

With a broadcast studio and two schools, the league plans to rebuild.

Paramount-Skydance Merger Off: Could Deal With WBD Be Revived?

Shari Redstone abruptly calls off potential merger discussions between the CBS Sports parent and Skydance Media.
June 10, 2024

What Would TNT Sports Look Like Without the NBA? Here’s What We Know

Warner Bros. Discovery still has plenty of other sports rights.
June 11, 2024

USA Cricket Is on the Cusp of a Historic Win. But Who Can Watch?

On Wednesday, the U.S. will face the pre-tournament favorite, India.

How HOKA is Reimagining the NIL Relationship

HOKA, the renowned athletic footwear and apparel brand, is betting on a new reality with NIL.
June 6, 2024

NBA Media-Rights Talks: Silver Says Deals Are Near, Wants to ‘Wrap It Up’

The commissioner highlights the ‘complexity’ of the high-profile media-rights negotiations.
Oct 22, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; ESPN broadcasters Doris Burke (left) and Ryan Ruocco during the NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center.
June 6, 2024

Doris Burke Set to Make TV History With NBA Finals Call

The first woman to call a major U.S. men’s championship on TV.
June 6, 2024

CFP and NFL Will Play on the Same Day: Breaking Down the TV Schedule

The CFP has announced its broadcast schedule for the expanded, 12-team postseason.
Showboats’ T.J. Green (14) wags his finger after making a stop during the UFL game between the San Antonio Brahmas and Memphis Showboats in Simmons Liberty Bank Stadium in Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in Memphis, Tenn., on Saturday, April 6, 2024.
June 6, 2024

UFL Ratings Top XFL and USFL From 2023 in First Season of Merger

Viewership increased roughly 200,000 more than either league had in 2023.