ESPN announced who will replace Skip Bayless as the permanent foil for Stephen A. Smith on the sports debate program “First Take.” The network will move veteran broadcaster Max Kellerman into the position starting Monday, July 25.
Kellerman was generally thought to be the front-runner for the job. He has been a regular on ESPN with appearances on a range of shows including “SportsCenter” and “Pardon the Interruption,” along with a full-time role on “SportsNation.” He is also well-known as a boxing commentator on HBO.
Kellerman will be giving up his spot on “SportsNation” along with his regular radio job as co-host of “Max & Marcellus.” He will wrap up both jobs on Friday, July 15.
Smith welcomed his new debate partner by commenting: “I’m ecstatic to have Max on board. We’ve known one another for years. We worked at ESPN New York together and we both love our boxing. More importantly, Max is smart, quick on his feet and is never — ever — afraid to go at anyone. Just the kind of partner I wanted. It’s time! Let’s go! Can’t wait!”
Kellerman commented: “I’m thrilled to join the excellent team at ‘First Take.’ Years back, on-the-air and in the hallways of ESPN Radio New York, Stephen A. and I would engage in detailed and thoughtful discussions on sports and every other topic you can imagine. To do that again, now for the ‘First Take’ audience, is going to be a lot of fun.”
Along with Kellerman and Smith, Molly Qerim continues on “First Take” as moderator.
Here’s a clip of Kellerman talking boxing, posted a couple of months ago …