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Stephen A., Shannon Sharpe Officially Team Up in New-Look ‘First Take’

  • Shannon Sharpe will join ESPN’s ‘First Take’ as of Sept. 4.
  • Sharpe split with ex-partner Skip Bayless in June.
A side view of Shannon Sharpe during an on-site taping of "Skip and Shannon: Undisputed."
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Shannon Sharpe knows how to make an entrance.

On Thursday morning, Skip Bayless’ former sparring partner confirmed he’s joining rival Stephen A. Smith with a tweet depicting him dunking in an ESPN jersey.

Smith confirmed Sharpe’s hiring was “official” at the top of Thursday’s “First Take” episode.

“It’s all about not standing still and taking it to another level,” Smith said.

He added: “Welcome to the Beatdown.”

According to Smith, the three-time Super Bowl champ will debut Monday, Sep. 4, and appear Mondays and Tuesdays.

“First Take’, the destination for morning sports debate year-round, and now with Shannon joining the signature show’s fall guest lineup opposite Stephen A. and Molly (Qerim), fans will have even more to look forward to this NFL and college football season,” said Dave Roberts, ESPN’s head of event and studio production.

As previously reported by Front Office Sports, Sharpe will join an ensemble cast of debaters on Smith’s “First Take,” including Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, Ryan Clark, Marcus Spears, Kimberley A. Martin and Dan Orlovsky.

The weekday’s show audience grew 26% in July, averaging 363,000 viewers. “First Take” has posted 12 months in a row of year-over-year growth.

Sharpe and Bayless formed a successful debate duo for nearly seven years on “Undisputed.” But Sharpe left FS1 in June after several brutal on-air arguments with Bayless.

On Wednesday, Sharpe announced he and his Club Shay Shay Media were partnering with Colin Cowherd’s The Volume.

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