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Stephen A. Smith, First Take Say Goodbye To Max Kellerman

“Smith called into Wednesday’s show to say goodbye and wish his partner all the best on his new projects.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: ESPN

The First Take crew said goodbye to Max Kellerman today after he spent the past five years going toe-to-toe on the debate desk with Stephen A. Smith. Kellerman is moving on to co-host ESPN Radio’s morning show with Keyshawn Johnson and Jay Williams while also staying busy with his own TV show on the network.

Smith called into Wednesday’s show to say goodbye and wish his partner all the best on his new projects.

“All I wanted to say is to call in and to thank my man Max,” Smith said on Wednesday’s show. “Originally, when we talked, it was supposed to be a three-year run, and it was a five-year run, and we’ve been number one every single year, and you had an awful lot to do with that.”

Reports surfaced around Smith that he was the driving force behind Kellerman leaving, but he was effusive in his praise of the sports commentator.

“I wanted to call and wish you nothing but the best moving forward,” Smith continued. “You’re going to be doing big things; like you’ve always been doing big things, and I just wanted to let you know my man, I’m calling to wish you nothing but the best, and I’m sorry I couldn’t be there to tell you face to face, thank you for everything that you did for the show over these last five years.”

While a bit rocky at times, the two clearly formed a bond over a half-decade working together. Kellerman highlighted using their platform to discuss tough topics over the years.

“Important issues were brought up through the years that I got to, and we got to opine about and use the platform to say things we felt were important in the world of sports,” Kellerman said in response.

A new era starts next week at ESPN when Kellerman joins ESPN Radio in a larger role.

Sports TV News

Pat McAfee Feels Good About His College Football MegaCast Debut

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said.

Jordan Bondurant

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The College Football MegaCast featuring Pat McAfee and his daily YouTube show’s cast debuted on ESPN2 over the weekend, and McAfee is looking forward to the next edition.

On his show Monday, McAfee told co-host A.J. Hawk that he felt good about how the show went considering it was uncharted territory to be in.

“We had no idea how successful it would be,” McAfee said. “Like this is the first time we’re being judged in a different fashion. I don’t think we marketed it much, you know, because I don’t think we knew how it was gonna go.”

The alternate feed is being produced for ESPN by Omaha Productions, which is also responsible for the ManningCast which runs alongside the traditional Monday Night Football broadcast.

McAfee said this first show turned out to be a learning experience and that they started off on the right foot.

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said. “We had no idea, it was very much of a roll of the dice. Going into the next one I think we’re gonna try and make it even grander and bigger, and I’m very excited for it.”

As for the style in which they covered the Clemson/N.C. State game, McAfee added that the giveaways and guest interactions added a lot of value.

“I think it’s the right way to watch a game, and to be honest I think it’s keeping us all invested as much and even more,” he said.

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Sports TV News

LA Clippers Sign New Contract with Bally Sports

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games.

Jordan Bondurant

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The Los Angeles Clippers will continue its relationship with Bally Sports, completing a new deal over the weekend to keep Bally as the team’s regional sports network.

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games. Additionally, 11 games will be carried by KTLA, giving the team some additional viewership reach. The remaining eight games will be broadcast on national television.

Brian Sieman will continue on as the play-by-play broadcaster for games, with Jim Jackson and Mike Fratello swapping the analyst chair. Jamie Maggio and Kristina Pink will be reporting.

According to the Los Angeles Times, all signs pointed to the team and the network hashing out a new contract.

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Sports TV News

ESPN’s NFL Programming Sees Big September Growth

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

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NFL Studio

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

Sunday NFL Countdown is averaging 1.4 million viewers per show thus far in 2022. That up 15% from 2021’s first three shows of the NFL season. The season premiere – Sunday, Sept. 11 – averaged 1.6 million viewers, tying the network’s best Week 1 audience for the show since 2016 and is up 35% year-over-year.

NFL Live experienced large growth too. The episode airing after the first NFL Sunday, on Monday September 12, averaged 664,000 viewers which beat every NFL Live episode last season, including the most-watched episode on 2021 (December 17) which grabbed 635,000 viewers.

Monday Night Countdown is averaging 1.3 million viewers for its two, non-staggered September episodes, which aired in its traditional timeslot (6-8 pm).

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