Jeff Gordon Hired As Full-Time Analyst For Fox "SNF" Leads Primetime For Fourth Time Ducks' Perry Miffed By Milbury's On-Air Remark MASN: Manfred Comments "Highly Prejudicial" NBC Again Airing Final EPL Matches Live Buck Anxiously Awaiting U.S. Open Broadcast Preakness Audience Down From Recent Years Media Notes StubHub Releases New Mobile Apps ESPN Wins Best In Sports Media
Upcoming Conferences and Events
SBD/June 24, 2014/Media
ESPN Exec Defends Appeal Of "First Take" Format, Says Ratings Remain Strong For Show
Published June 24, 2014
Q: What is the actual goal from the show?
Keegan: We want to offer something different and talk about things people are talking about. We try to do it in a way our SportsCenters can't and don't have the freedom to, and may not want to.
Q: How has "Embrace Debate" positively and negatively affected the ESPN brand?
Keegan: I think it has positively affected it in almost every way you can think of.
Keegan: It has been great for ratings. If you told me five years ago when I first had responsibility for this that we could regularly do a 0.4 (350,000-450,000 or so viewers) at 10:00 a.m. on ESPN2, I'd say what are you smoking? It is ... great for ratings. I will not share with you the financials but it is good for financials. And I think it is good for the brand.
Q: How much of the show's content will revolve around Johnny Manziel heading forward?
Keegan: If he remains a hot topic, it will remain a topic.
Q: In hindsight, how do you feel about the show's coverage of Tim Tebow?
Keegan: At the time Tim Tebow was in the news every day and we talked about him a lot. Other shows followed suit at ESPN so it wasn't as if everyone was saying that is a terrible idea. He was a hot topic (SI.com, 6/22).