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‘No First Take is diabolical’, fans rage as ESPN makes major broadcasting change due to expanded Wimbledon coverage

FIRST Take fans were in dismay on Monday morning after the the ESPN weekday debate show was bumped from the schedules.

The popular show fronted by Stephen A. Smith and Molly Qerim is currently on a rare break due to a clash with Wimbledon.

ESPN

First Take has been bumped from ESPN this week[/caption]

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The sports network is giving blanket coverage to Wimbledon on ESPN and ESPN2[/caption]

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The Stephen A. Smith-fronted show will return on Thursday on ESPN2[/caption]

First Take will return to ESPN channels on Thursday, with the tennis major being given blanket coverage on ESPN and ESPN2 throughout the day on Monday through Wednesday.

And many fans of the show are unhappy to be without their daily fix of hot takes from Stephen A. and Shannon Sharpe.

“No First Take on a Monday morning is diabolical @espn @stephenasmith,” one fan posted on social media.

“No First Take this morning? My morning has been trying to say the LEAST,” another fan said.

First Take has already been moved from its usual slot on ESPN, airing on ESPN2 instead in the first week of the major tennis tournament.

And the show will be back on ESPN2 on Thursday and Friday before being restored to ESPN on July 15.

In a positive note for fans, ESPN has confirmed that Qerim will return from her on-air break this week.

The sportscaster has been absent since late June with Christine Williamson taking her seat on the set.

But Qerim, 40, will be back on Thursday, July 11, per ESPN’s associate director of communications John R. Manzo.

Wimbledon will end on Sunday, July 14.


First Take’s schedule should return to normal the following morning.

It remains to be seen whether Stephen A. will be back as well, though.

Smith, 56, has been on vacation alongside Sharpe since last week.

And co-star Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo has suggested he could be away for months.

“We are not gonna see you know who until the NBA tips off in October,” Russo said during his cold open on Wednesday, July 3.

“So Draymond Green, get used to it.

“On this show for the next three months, it’s yours truly.”

Molly Qerim’s life in the spotlight

Molly Qerim has risen through the ranks to become one of the biggest stars at ESPN.

The popular sports host began her media career in 2006 with ESPN and spent four years with the network.

She then covered college basketball and football for CBS Sports Network in New York.

Qerim balanced that with hosting duties for NFL Network in Los Angeles – fronting NFLAM and NFL Fantasy Live.

The host returned to ESPN in 2015 and immediately took the role of First Take anchor.

And Qerim has been an ever-present, popular host of the daily sports debate show ever since.

Mad Dog also joked he would also fill in for Stephen A. as the executive producer of First Take.

Smith is in the middle of contract negotiation talks with ESPN.

The network is said to have offered the outspoken sportscaster a $6 million pay rise on his current $12 million-a-year deal.

But Stephen A. is reportedly demanding $25 million per year, which would make him ESPN’s top-paid talent.

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