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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).