First Take is coming off their highest rated year since the show launched as Cold Pizza in 2005. 2017 was the first full year First Take was led by the trio of Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman and Molly Qerim, it was also the first year the program was shown on ESPN instead of ESPN2.
“It’s been a phenomenal year,” said ESPN First Take commentator Stephen A. Smith. “But that’s what happens when you’re blessed with tremendous leadership and support from the top on down, to all the producers on our show daily, along with teammates like Max and Molly. With that said, we’re just getting started. For anyone expecting us to take our foot off the gas, think again. Onward and upward in 2018.”
The move to ESPN undoubtedly provided First Take with a larger audience which means comparing 2018 ratings with 2017 will offer more accurate analysis. First Take is off to a strong start in 2018 with a 7% increase in overall viewership for the month of January when compared to 2017.
During January, First Take averaged 503,000 viewers, including 103,000 women which is a 13% jump from their January 2017 numbers. First Take also ranked #1 on overall networks during the 10am to noon ET timeslot for men 18-34.
First Take’s impressive January ratings continued into the month of February with their Super Bowl coverage. The program’s viewership for the Wednesday through Friday shows prior to the Super Bowl enjoyed a 16% increase when compared to the same pre-Super Bowl shows from 2017. Monday’s post-Super Bowl show equaled First Take’s largest rated show ever with a 0.6 household rating, a number the program has achieved five times since the move to ESPN last January.