When FS1’s Undisputed returned from hiatus this Monday with a brand-new lineup of co-hosts, stalwart Skip Bayless did not mince words, saying “This is the greatest morning of my career, this is about to be the greatest show I have ever been a part of.”
It does not appear that audiences agree with that sentiment so far.
Ratings for the first week of the revamped Undisputed Live are in and they look pretty brutal compared to their chief rival, ESPN’s First Take.
Monday’s episode of Undisputed Live drew 131,000 viewers compared to 448,000 for First Take, per Front Office Sports. That gap got wider on Tuesday when Undisputed dipped to averaging 120,000 viewers to First Take’s 474,000. By Wednesday, Undisputed sank all the way down to 78,000 viewers while First Take held relatively steady at 423,000.
That’s also a drop-off from Shannon Sharpe’s final episodes as Bayless’s co-host, which averaged 154,000 in June.
To be fair, it’s never really fair to make definitive judgments based on small sample sizes like this. NFL season is about to kick off and while audiences might have been turned off by the energy brought by Keyshawn Johnson, Michael Irvin, and Richard Sherman, other hosts have started rotating in, including Rachel Nichols and Josina Anderson.
However, if Bayless has any hopes of catching or passing former co-host Stephen A. Smith, they seem unlikely. First Take has been riding audience growth all year long and is about to introduce Sharpe into the mix, which is bound to attract eyeballs.
Meanwhile, many have noted that Bayless appears to be fading into the background of his own show, which could end up making things very uncomfortable down the road (though Skip refutes that analysis).
Meanwhile, Smith seems to be enjoying the ratings news.
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) September 1, 2023