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Pat McAfee Joins Stephen A. Smith’s “First Take” Lineup in TV Showdown with Skip Bayless

The world of sports talk television is heating up, and fans are in for a thrilling showdown as Stephen A. Smith adds another heavy hitter to his “First Take” roster. Pat McAfee, the former NFL punter and host of “The Pat McAfee Show,” will be joining Smith, Shannon Sharpe, and Molly Qerim on “First Take” every Tuesday this year.

McAfee’s eponymous show made its official ESPN debut recently, anchoring a formidable daytime lineup alongside Mike Greenberg’s “Get Up” and “First Take.” This move by Stephen A. Smith is his latest maneuver in the ongoing TV competition with his former mentor and now rival, Skip Bayless.

After a brief hiatus, “Undisputed Live” returned to FS1 last week with a revamped cast, including Michael Irvin, Keyshawn Johnson, Richard Sherman, Josina Anderson, and Rachel Nichols. However, Smith retaliated this week by bringing on Sharpe, the Pro Football Hall of Famer who previously served as Bayless’ “Undisputed” sparring partner for nearly seven years.

The result of this clash of titans? “First Take” ratings soared this week. Sharpe’s debut episode averaged 754,000 viewers, marking a 30% increase from the previous year and becoming the second-most-watched “First Take” episode of the year, second only to the day after Super Bowl 57.

In comparison, “Undisputed” garnered 215,000 viewers, still its best number since its return to the air on August 28. Tuesday’s “First Take” show, with Sharpe in the mix, averaged 512,000 viewers, representing a 20% increase. In contrast, “Undisputed” managed to attract 131,000 viewers.

The addition of Pat McAfee to the “First Take” lineup adds another layer of intrigue to this cutthroat TV competition between former partners turned frenemies, Bayless, Smith, and Sharpe. Bayless is credited with pioneering the “Embrace Debate” format on ESPN, which both Smith and Sharpe acknowledge as having boosted their careers when they were hired as his debate partners on “First Take” and “Undisputed” in 2012 and 2016, respectively.

Now, the dynamic has shifted, and Bayless’ two former TV partners are joining forces to take on their former mentor. With Sharpe set to return to “First Take” on Monday, fans can anticipate more spirited debates and discussions, particularly with the upcoming NFL action.

As the trio of Smith, Sharpe, and McAfee brings their unique perspectives and unfiltered opinions to “First Take,” viewers can expect the show’s ratings to continue to skyrocket. The competition is fierce, the stakes are high, and sports enthusiasts are the ultimate winners as they tune in for this thrilling battle of wits and wisdom on their screens.

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Written by Cesar

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