Stephen A. Smith vs. Chris “Mad Dog” Russo: Wednesdays on ESPN’s First Take Beginning Feb. 16

First Take

Stephen A. Smith vs. Chris “Mad Dog” Russo: Wednesdays on ESPN’s First Take Beginning Feb. 16

SiriusXM Host to Join Rotating Team of Analysts, Insiders & Celebrities Alongside Smith & Molly Qerim

First Take’s Audience Success Continued in January with its Most-Watched Episode Ever & Highest Monthly Average Since Dec. 2019

Wednesday, Feb. 16, SiriusXM host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo will join Stephen A. Smith and host Molly Qerim on ESPN’s signature morning debate show, First Take for the full two hours (10 a.m.-12 p.m. ET). Russo will then return for weekly appearances every Wednesday beginning March 2. Smith and Russo will bring their wide-ranging expertise and go head to head on the day’s trending topics, issues and under-the-radar stories both on and off the field.

ICYMI: Russo’s guest appearance on the show late last month featured a passionate debate with Smith about Barry Bonds’ Hall of Fame status (Watch)

“In January, First Take aired its most-watched episode ever and fans are continuing to turn to the show for can’t-miss reactions to big time moments and breaking news,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president & executive editor, production. “We couldn’t be more excited to add another marquee name in Chris “Mad Dog” Russo to our weekly rotating lineup and further build this momentum going forward, providing viewers with the best possible debates, topics and content.”

Russo will join the rotating team of ESPN’s industry-leading roster of analysts and insiders across sports that appear on First Take weekly, including Ryan Clark, Mina Kimes, Kimberley A. Martin, Monica McNutt, Chiney Ogwumike, Dan Orlovsky, Kendrick Perkins, Marcus Spears, Jay Williams, Damien Woody and many more. The duo is also regularly joined by current sports stars, legends of the game and Hollywood celebrities.

First Take’s Audience Success: First Take’s audience has continued to grow in recent months, including the show’s most-watched episode ever on Monday, Jan. 17, leading First Take’s January viewership to be the highest monthly average since Dec. 2019. All of this also contributed to ESPN’s network-wide viewership wins in January.


Media Contact: Michael Skarka [email protected]

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