First Take shared some breaking media news this week, announcing J.J. Watt as The Pat McAfee Show’s new co-host which would have been a massive scoop, if it were true.
The newly retired Watt was in studio on First Take Wednesday morning and even he was shocked by the segment’s cold open, which would have benefitted from a dry run.
Molly Qerim announced on Wednesday’s First Take that guest J.J. Watt would be the new co-host of the Pat McAfee show.
That was news to J.J. pic.twitter.com/MeB2G1T7is
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) May 5, 2023
“You have a lot of exciting new projects, beyond being a new dad,” First Take host Molly Qerim told Watt. “You’ll be the new co-host of The Pat McAfee Show.”
The breaking news garnered big “WOWs” out of Chris Russo, who was in studio, and Stephen A. Smith, who was on camera. “Congrats man,” Smith added as he began to applaud the announcement of Watt’s new gig. But equally surprised at the news was Watt.
“Am I?” Watt asked.
“That’s what I was told,” Qerim said, implying that an ESPN producer or someone off-air gave her the tidbit of information to share during Watt’s intro.
“Oh, that would be great,” Watt replied, but “No.”
Uh oh. Awkward announcing.
“Did you send me a contract that I’m unaware of?” Watt joked as Smith laughed at the strange gaffe. “This is great for television.”
“Oh god!” Qerim said. “That’s an awkward moment!”
The announcement felt off from the start. With The Pat McAfee Show already being a well-oiled machine, it would be odd if Watt was added as a full-time co-host without at least becoming a contributor or more frequent guest first.
Watt did fill in for A.J. Hawk in March, co-hosting a portion of The Pat McAfee Show for a day and the YouTube video of his appearance is titled “JJ Watt Replaced AJ Hawk, Becomes Co Host of The Pat McAfee Show!” But you would hope no one at ESPN stumbled on that title and thought to take it to the air on First Take two months later as some sort of breaking news without trying to verify it first. I guess that’s what happens when everybody has a podcast and everybody tries to cover sports media.
Watt also recently announced he is considering launching a podcast with his brother, T.J. Watt. As if there aren’t enough show launches and podcasts to cover, Watt just talking about the possibility of starting a podcast made headlines. But kudos to ESPN for one-upping Watt’s hypothetical podcast news with some fake podcast news.