ESPN’s new 6 p.m. SportsCenter show, SC6, with Jemele Hill and Michael Smith has been almost impossibly polarizing.

Depending whom you ask, SC6 might be another brave venture away from a stale old highlight-centric model and toward a personality-driven one, as well as a deserved showcase for two talented people with styles and backgrounds that give the show a fresh feel. Or it might be a sad departure from the SportsCenter of yore, featuring an inexperienced duo that most of their audience doesn’t relate to.

In some ways, SC6 is a referendum on ESPN’s new direction with SportsCenter. Though we’ve seen several SportsCenter iterations in the last couple years break from the time-tested template, this one goes further than any before. If the show succeeds, ESPN might feel emboldened to experiment with more non-traditional highlight shows, and if it fails, the network might reconsider the personality-centered approach.

For this reason, a lot of people feel invested in the success or failure of this show.

(How Smith and Hill look and speak undoubtedly also affects how people view SC6, which is a thorny subject that deserves deeper consideration another day.)

SC6 has only been on the air for two weeks, but some early ratings are in, via Sports TV Ratings, and given all the interest, we’re going to put aside our small-sample-size concerns and share them.

So, acknowledging that these are very, very early returns, here’s what we know about SC6’s ratings so far:

So basically, SC6 is doing fine. Yes, viewership is down from corresponding days last year, but a lot of that clearly owes to a greatly diminished lead-in from PTI (which has to be a bit troubling in itself for ESPN, but that’s another conversation).

ESPN devoted a lot of energy to promoting SC6 and surely would have loved to start off with incredible ratings, but this is certainly not the disaster some of the show’s skeptics predicted. The guess here is that ESPN higher-ups are satisfied, if not thrilled.

Of course, you can’t really learn much from seven days of ratings on a show designed for the long haul. The jury is definitely still out on SC6 and probably will be for a long time.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

  • bibliomaine

    The SC6 gambit will draw a respectably “niched” audience and millions will be spent to hype it but the 6PM EST sports center has gone the way of the “Evening News.”

    Once MLB starts, I would go with Baseball Tonight in that slot.

    • Shawn Diiorio

      You think Baseball is what’s going to draw in more viewers?

      • M Haynes

        Yes, but watching grass grow would be more interesting than SC6.

        • Shawn Diiorio

          Watching grass grow would be more interesting than people talking about MLB baseball.

          • Chris Konieczki

            which is more interesting than anything those tards have to say

    • Justin_Herrick

      There’s absolutely no way Baseball Tonight at 6PM ET is outdrawing any SportsCenter in the slot, no matter the format.

      • im4neb

        I think the idea might be the number of viewers that they pull away from SC6 when MLB begins.

    • Austin Hernandez

      Good troll post. 8 of 10. LOL using baseball time in the prime slot to draw ratings? Awesome troll job!

  • Real Talk

    I can’t watch ESPN social justice shows anymore, I’m slowing embracing fox

    • Nice guy

      Fox is people that worked at espn

      • Real Talk

        Yes I know that but they are clearly been liberated.. Sage steel is the only non social justice voice still at ESPN

        • Nice guy

          Say what you want every athlete want to see their name or a picture on ESPN

          • Stephen Bowman

            Well their picture might be on there, but is anyone watching?

          • Nice guy

            Yes I watch all the time. What you don’t get is no one watching cable anymore. Do you know that on average most people only watch 5 channels. Cable and satellite have hundreds of channels yet most people will never watch them. People are cord cutting these days. Paying for only what they watch. I know stream everything. I got rid of my cable 7 months ago and I don’t miss it. I got me a kodie box and now I watch things for free.

      • Stephen Bowman

        True nice guy, but the SJW crap is gone. Look I’m a Republican and if it was injected with their stuff all day long I wouldn’t watch that either. Sports are a refuge for me and I suspect most people, to get away from life, particularly politics, for a few hrs. ESPN thinks the opposite.

        • Nice guy

          Don’t believe the hype. Try to shield yourself all you want politics is all around you. I’m still a fan of espn. It’s not that espn numbers are down. The real reason why espn numbers are down is people no longer want to pay for things there not watching. I don’t watch The Weather Channel yet I’m paying for it. Have you ever heard of cord cutting? I have a kodie box and I only see the things I like. Trust me I see everything i want to see for free.

  • skirkpat12

    I honestly can’t remember the last time I watched Sportscenter.

  • Respected Citizen

    I watched on Tuesday until The Bachelor interview.

    ESPN should have explained that SportsCenter is now Lukewarm Takes and interviews, and you should tune to ESPN EWS for news and highlights.

  • ItsBlackjack115

    Great job playing yourself, America!

  • mynameiskevin

    I’m happy for Michael and Jemele. F*ck the haters.

    • OneOfOne

      fuck you

      • mynameiskevin

        Aww, did I hurt your feelings?

    • Jason Clark

      Best be happy for them while you can cause I doubt they’ll be doing this much longer.

    • rosetta_stoned

      I’m proud to hate.
      Because it makes life miserable for fifth-column leftists like you.

      • mynameiskevin

        If you’re proud of trying to make other people’s lives miserable, it says a lot about how miserable your own life is.

        And for the record, I’m no leftist–my political views tend to be all over the place. I just recognize a success story when I see it. Maybe you will in due time when you get over yourself.

    • SkiBum

      First you say you’re happy for them, then you say F’ em. I don’t get it. Because there are no 2 bigger haters than Michael and Jemele.

      • mynameiskevin

        That’s strange, because I can think of 33 off the top of my head, and they’re all posting in this comment section.

        • Chris Konieczki

          well none of them is anchoring the lowest rated SC of all time either…..winning!!

          • mynameiskevin

            But they’re still making their money at ESPN despite all the cretins here rooting for them to be part of the layoffs. Still better than to troll comment sections complaining about other people while sitting at dead-end office jobs, but…that’s none of my business.

    • Beuff

      loser. they suck

  • Regular Joe

    So I guess this is basically Entertainment Tonight with a sports emphasis and some liberal preaching mixed in? Yeah no thanks…

    • M Haynes

      Actually it is BET. Clueless and Boring

      • Schlek

        And you’re a racist prick!

        • M Haynes

          SHREK – Your act like a man when you can hide behind a fake name on the internet, but your little racist ass would talk differently if you had to back up your childish words. Step boy, go ahead and step.

          • Schlek

            Are you fucking stupid you’re the racist one with you’re inexcusable comments on this story. As for my manhood, I’d knock you out in seconds only if you started it which you won’t since you’re a racist coward!

          • Stephen Bowman

            So he is racist because he said ESPN is like BET? Wow, you are a fucking stupid moron, I bet you couldn’t knock out an old lady, let alone a man.

  • OneOfOne

    sports fans dont watch sports center because its been bad for a long time. we want sports scores and highlights not opinions from people we dont care about and fake diversity. the rainbow diversity channel continues to jump the shark chasing worthless millennials just like they did useless generation x. here is an idea: maybe you look back to when sports center was good and relevant and try to replicate that with hosts who know sports and report scores and show highlights.

  • JWJ

    What kind of viewing numbers would be considered a success? 300K? 500K? 900K?
    What is the ballpark cost of producing that show per episode?
    What is ESPN able to charge per 30-second commercial?

  • BobLee Says

    I miss Dan Patrick & Stuart Scott. CEO John Skipper will say this new format works even if it totally tanks. Of course Skippy is also still saying “HIllary won”.

  • scott15

    Also, IMO affecting the ratings are the loss of subscribers in the past calendar year that ESPN has lost, that has to be taken into consideration as well

  • y doesitmatter

    Use to watch there old show, seems like they had more energy, must say I’m tired of the force feeding of the homosexuality agenda: Mike please stop saying blk Rob, the best MC, go listen to thug mansion

  • James Uy Ty III

    I like the new SC6. Both Smith and Hill are just continuing what they did on His and Hers.

  • Jeremy W

    i have no plom with mr smith and miss hill what i dislike is the lean to the left on every ESPN show not just SC6

    when i watch sports i just want sports news and breakdowns

    the 6pm SC should be the place u get your news and info not being told how to think

  • bluedog31

    I can’t remember the last time I’ve actually watched Sportscenter at 6pm before Michael and Jemele but I’ve tuned in a couple times since they’ve started. I loved them on His and Hers and their chemistry is fantastic so I love seeing them on Sportscenter. They’ll figure out the blend between sports and pop culture but I like what I’m seeing so far.

    • Chris Konieczki

      embrace being a moron its brave

  • Jason Clark

    LMAO – “ratings are down almost into the double digits but it’s doing juuuuust fine!”

  • PD Burchfield

    After PTI, HQ, Sportscenter and Around the Horn, there is nothing new for these 2. I switch to ESPN2 when they come
    On. sorry. Not impressed !!!!

  • Dennis

    This show just sucks. Going to Happy Hour.

  • Larry Taylor

    dinner while listening to the trials and tribulations of the nba by two unknowns with no cred. let me throw up now

  • Larry Taylor

    cbb tourney week and march madness shud appropriately relegate the hood show, very polarizing

  • mktesq

    I think that Smith and Hill are good people, but like all news, the problem is that 95% of the people know the headlines before they tune into the show. I understand the format, but most sports fans do not want to consume the Sports Equivalent of Good Morning America at 6 pm.

    The only shows I watch on ESPN are Mike and Mike in the Morning for about an hour when I get ready, and PTI when Tony is hosting and I get home on time to watch it. That’s it. All of the rest is just blather and pulp. My life isn’t improved one iota from listening to any of the talking heads tell me about the sport.

    I think the Sports Channels need to diversify their shows for the sports consumer. I see three groups of sports fans (huge generalization I know): the casual sports fan who just wants to be able to sit at a diner with their friends and not be a total idiot, the fantasy sports fan who wants to know all about fantasy information because information is power in those leagues, and the hardcore sports fan who wants detailed, specific analysis and breakdown of film/plays/tape, etc. because they know all of the common, basic and trite and they want to know the intricacies of the sport(s).

    • SkiBum

      Jemele is not “good people”. She’s a race baiting bigot and has proven it repeatedly.

  • highrailer

    That’s B.S. Nobody is watching that show. The truth is that it stinks!

  • Shiny Good Sweet

    How much is awful announcing being paid by ESPN to keep pushing this show?

  • Beuff

    Fox is where it’s at.
    These 2 are unwatchable.
    ESPN reachin…

  • rosetta_stoned

    Wow. A couple of race-baiting social justice warriors giving me sports highlights?

    Where do I sign up?

  • SkiBum

    Not watching those bigots.

  • SkiBum

    Not anymore. Their ratings must have dropped dramatically in March because you can’t find any mention of them.

  • Johnny D

    Jemele is cool and she knows her stuff and acts cool when shes funny. Michael Smith tries to hard and hes a bafoon.

    • Chris Konieczki

      wow stop thirsting or whatever man, she is teh most uninformed fat out of shape rolly polly on ESPN

  • M Haynes

    SC6 is quite possible the most ill informed sports show on tv. No substance, no insight, no knowledge of recent events or even the basic understanding of the sports they are suppose to be covering. Nobody wants to hear them talk for 20 minutes about the look they say on an athletes face, or what they speculate he is thinking. Move this daytime drama show to a daytime slot right after the View. Absolutely Awful.

  • John Crane

    Two months later, and the ratings are God awful. Struggling to maintain 400K, and losing almost 50% of the PTI lead in audience. Still, Skipper will find a way to spin that as a win.

  • thevaccinemachine

    Show is unwatchable social justice warrior trash – like ESPN itself

  • Nice guy

    I’m a big fan of the new show.

  • Jason Conley

    It’s so so bad

  • John Boy

    ESPN sucks. It stopped being relevant 20 years ago.

  • Alex Puckett

    Sc6 is horrible I change the channel everything I forget it’s those 2…

  • Stephen Bowman

    Well if you like your sports coming from a couple of 40 somethings, trying to act hip, mixed with a healthy dose of SJW tripe mixed with racism, well this show and Channel are for you. For me, NO THXS.

    Let me add one thing, for the writers who keep saying it’s because of cord cutting and or their leftist politics, you’re only part right. I kept cable because of ESPN, but when they kept telling me I’m a racist or some other type of “ism” I had enough and cut the cord. Just internet and 2 things. A Roku box and a Kodi box, best part, no commercials except for live sporting events.