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James Dunn has been the coordinating producer for ESPN’s signature morning debate show First Take, with Stephen A. Smith and host Molly Qerim, since Nov. 2021. Dunn was also a part of the First Take team as a producer from Nov. 2018-June 2021. During his time on the show, First Take has seen consistent viewership growth. Dunn has also led the show through its transition to a rotating co-host alongside Smith and Qerim.
Prior to returning to First Take as a coordinating producer, Dunn was a producer on ESPN+’s original series Stephen A’s World as well as the weekly SportsCenter with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN. He was also a manager for the network’s ESPN Next – a leadership development program for young professionals based in content to create further growth and career development opportunities.
Dunn originally joined ESPN as a producer for a variety of shows across ESPN and ESPNEWS (2007-12), including being the first to launch the live, noon ET SportsCenter in 2008. He then moved to the network’s Charlotte office to lead content across ESPNU (2012-17), including coverage of the College Football National Championship from 2012-16 and producing studio shows across all collegiate sports, and specials around National Signing Day.
Dunn then became a senior producer at NESN (2017-18) where he led NESN Sports Today and NESN Sports Update as well as a special Boston Homegrown series, before returning to ESPN.
Dunn’s career in broadcasting began in 1999 as a video journalist for CNN. He continued with the network through 2002, with roles of increasing responsibility including production assistant (1999-2000) and media manager (2000-02). He then went to the local ABC affiliate in Macon, Ga., as a sports reporter (2002-03), before returning to CNN as a sports producer until 2007.
Dunn graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts in speech communication and rhetoric.