Love him or hate him, Skip Bayless certainly knew how to make people pay attention.
Perhaps to stave off First Take’s drop in viewership, ESPN is now airing taped segments of the show each week during halftime of Monday Night Football. That practice began Sept. 26 during Saints-Falcons, but with most people tuned into the presidential debate that night, the world seemed to notice for the first time Monday, during Giants-Vikings.
In fact, two people who agree about almost nothing came together to mock First Take‘s cameo on MNF.
You just saw the First Take stuff at halftime of MNF. The show's ratings have crashed. That segment wasn't about you the viewer.
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) October 4, 2016
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) October 4, 2016
There’s no question Bayless’ departure hurt First Take and that airing segments of the show during Monday Night Football feels like a desperate reach for ratings (For what its worth, an ESPN executive told Richard Deitsch that with MNF, the network wanted to “expose the talent and chemistry of Stephen A. and Max [Kellerman] to a wider audience.”), but there’s one problem with Travis’ trash talk:
No one is watching Bayless’ new show. In fact, FS1’s Undisputed, which features Bayless and Shannon Sharpe doing the same things Bayless and Smith used to do on First Take, is drawing about a third as many viewers as First Take, even after the ESPN’s show’s drop-off in ratings.
Updated First Take 2015 vs 2016 vs Undisputed chart through Friday: pic.twitter.com/TQyqZWNvT4
— Sports TV Ratings (@SportsTVRatings) October 4, 2016
Bayless’ defection to FS1 was supposed to cripple his old ESPN show while launching a new dynasty with his new one. It’s still early, but for now it looks like a mission half-accomplished.