Shannon Sharpe and Chad Johnson put together the breakout hit sports show this NFL season with Nightcap, the late-night live YouTube show coproduced by Sharpe’s Shay Shay Media and Colin Cowherd’s The Volume.
Late Sunday night after the Super Bowl, Sharpe and Johnson brought in nearly 90,000 live viewers for their recap of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs going back-to-back. That’s a number worthy of praise in and of itself, but even more stark when considered alongside the viewership of Sharpe’s old FS1 show Undisputed, which often struggles to top 80,000 on cable television in the middle of the day.
Reddit commenter u/Forevermade32 couldn’t help but compare the numbers of the two former cohosts, Sharpe and Skip Bayless. “Wonder how Skip feels seeing 86k people watching Nightcap after the Super Bowl. Insane numbers,” they wrote in the Undisputed sub-Reddit.
FS1’s signature morning show reimagined this NFL season around Bayless, had just one day last week in which it averaged more viewers than Nightcap peaked at post-Super Bowl. Last Tuesday, Undisputed averaged 89,000 viewers as viewers watched Bayless bicker with a rotating panel including Keyshawn Johnson, Richard Sherman, Michael Irvin and Lil Wayne.
The next day, Undisputed‘s 64,000 viewers marked the smallest audience since it returned from hiatus following Sharpe’s departure. Undisputed frequently pales in comparison to re-runs of ESPN morning shows like Get Up on ESPN2.
Undisputed has struggled severely since Bayless forced Sharpe out last summer. Without Sharpe as a buffer against some of Bayless’ worse instincts, the show’s new panelists have struggled to make an impression while Bayless focused the show on the Dallas Cowboys even more than usual.
On the other hand, Sharpe and Johnson have quickly made their mark on the digital content space. It may seem natural given Sharpe’s enormous success with his longform interview show Club Shay Shay. However, crossing 1 million subscribers a day after launching in September is a remarkable achievement for Nightcap.
Less than 12 hours after it streamed, Nightcap‘s Sunday episode is already near 700,000 total viewers.
Sharpe has taken such a huge W since parting with Bayless that it will not be a story soon. But for now, Sharpe on YouTube outdrawing Bayless on FS1 is a sign of the times and a clear indication of who made Undisputed popular in recent years.