Skip Bayless' "Undisputed" Ratings Tank, Stephen A. Smith Reacts

Not great for the show's post-Shannon Sharpe life.

BYBen Mock
Profile of ESPN Personality Skip Bayless

Maybe Skip Bayless did need Shannon Sharpe after all. Per a report from Front Office Sports, the launch of the new season of Undisputed has seen viewership absolutely tank. 131,000 tuned into the season premiere of Undisputed, now anchored by Bayless, Richard Sherman, and Rachel Nichols. The following day, viewership dropped 8.4% to 120,000 viewers. Furthermore, viewership fell off a cliff on the third, falling another 35% to 78,000. A big problem for many viewers was that Bayless stepped back from the role of host to that of moderator, instead letting his newfound team do most of the debating.

This was in comparison to First Take, which saw figures of 448,000, 474,000, and 423,000. In percentage terms, that's a 5% increase followed by a 10% decrease. However, First Take, which will debut Sharpe on September 4, still held nearly four times the viewers that Undisputed did. Furthermore, remember that, as mentioned, these are viewing figures for First Take before Shannon Sharpe joins the team. From September 4 onwards, Undisputed will have to contend with that additional pressure.

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Stephen A.'s Reaction To Undisputed Numbers Says Nothing And Everything

Stephen A. Smith, host of First Take, didn't say a whole lot about the news that Undisputed had stumbled out of the gates. In fact, Smith didn't say anything other than posting the Front Office Sports article without additional comment. Smith has made some comments about Bayless' first week back on the air, noting how he tried to dunk on First Take while introducing Richard Sherman. However, more might be said about the situation in the coming days as Stephen A. takes to his podcast and other outlets.

It's worth mentioning that Front Office Sports did advise caution when addressing these numbers. It was the first week after a two-month hiatus and numbers will likely rise as the NFL season gets underway next week. “Relax, first show. Shows always evolve,” tweeted Fox radio host Doug Gottlieb. “First Take was a segment called "1st and 10" on Cold Pizza, which was rebooted after one year.” The problem is that Undisputed is not a new show. This is not a reboot, it's a rebrand of the same show that Bayless was running with Sharpe. And now that Sharpe is on First Take, Bayless should start to feel worried.

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About The Author
Benjamin Mock (they/them) is a sports and culture writer working out of Philadelphia. Previously writing for the likes of Fixture, Dexerto, Fragster, and Jaxon, Ben has dedicated themselves to engaging and accessible articles about sports, esports, and internet culture. With a love for the weirder stories, you never quite know what to expect from their work.