Series / First Take

If there's one afternoon block of ESPN journalists yelling at each other about sports that you can name, it's First Take. Originally anchored by Skip Bayless and Stephen A Smith, and originally hosted by Jay Crawford, First Take provides roundtable and often adversarial daily debate on current sports topics of interest to the United States audience. Skip and Stephen A, in particular, are famous for being Real Life Vitriolic Best Buds, and the show was largely built on the heated debates between the two.

First Take is the Spiritual Successor to Cold Pizza, a morning talk show host more comparable to Good Morning America than SportsCenter. It included daily sports news, interviews with sports journalists, athletes, and personalities, and an assortment of other sports and non-sports topics. This show began airing on October 20, 2003. After four-ish years, it was replaced by First Take, and here we are now.

Two back-to-back two-hour episodes air each weekday from Monday through Friday, with the live episode airing from 10 a.m. ET until noon, followed by a repeat. Longtime host Crawford left First Take in 2012 to anchor SportsCenter and he was replaced by Cari Champion, who hosted until 2015. She was replaced by current host Molly Qerim.

Skip Bayless himself left the show in 2016 and was replaced by Max Kellerman.

This show provides examples of the following:

  • Ascended Fanboy: Chad Neidt sort of fit the bill. Where he made a cover song of a Stupid Statement Dance Mix on YouTube and ended up being a guest in the show.
  • Brutal Honesty: To the true fans of the show, the trope's a no-brainer.
  • Catch-Phrase: Stephen A has a lot, but namely "disrespectful" and "blasphemous" come up a lot.
    • Skip has "Spurs in six." Originally, it started off as a bitter lament over how his favorite NBA team, the San Antonio Spurs, were literally 28 seconds away from winning a championship in Game 6 of the 2013 Finals. He used that phrase as a rallying cry for the 2014 Finals, also against Miami. Ended up being Spurs in five.
  • Commander Contrarian: The best way to describe Skip Bayless.
  • Fan Boy: Skip, of Tom Brady, Tim Tebow and the San Antonio Spurs.
  • Friendly Enemy: Skip is not a fan. He thinks being too chummy with your opponent leaves you open and vulnerable for a loss. He didn't like it with LeBron and Durant, and he doesn't like it with LeBron and Paul George. Stephen A isn't impressed about Skyp's mentality here.
  • Graceful Loser: Stephen A Smith became a textbook example in the aftermath of Broncos' playoff victory over the Steelers on 2012.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Critics of Skip often have this to say about him. Stephen A would agree.
  • Large Ham: Skip and Stephen A.
    • Averted with Max Kellerman unless the subject is boxing.
  • No Indoor Voice: Pretty much everybody.
  • No True Scotsman: Invoked when Rob Parker infamously accused RG3 of being a "cornball brother", which resulted in his termination a month later.
  • The Rival: When it was still Cold Pizza, Around the Horn contributor Woody Paige used to fill the bill for Skip Bayless.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Famously between Skip and Stephen A.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: While it's made clear to everybody who views the show that he speaks his mind, it doesn't still stop Stephen A. Smith from getting this so many times, whether expected backlash or reprimand from ESPN.