ESPN Reportedly Welcomes Tennis Channel's Cari Champion to Host "First Take"

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterSeptember 10, 2012

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We hope Cari Champion owns a nice pair of ear buds, because she is about to sit between the two most heated air bags in sports broadcasting as she reportedly joins ESPN's "First Take" as host. 

The show that never met a controversy or debate it didn't want to shout about will add Champion according to a report from The Big Lead Sports

Cari Champion, a reporter from the Tennis Channel, has been selected as the new host for ESPN’s First Take, three sources confirmed to me.

ESPN is expected to make an announcement this week.

Those familiar with Tennis Channel broadcasting will be familiar with the UCLA graduate who has been all over the nation as well as all aspects of the news, and has also been featured as an entertainment reporter for shows such as The Insider, Hollywood 411 and on Starz

She will be leaving her gig with the channel where she featured in "Court Report" segments and join the loud noises and heavy opinions that feature on a show that you simply either love or hate. 

According to the report, Champion beat out Heidi Watney and Jemele Hill for the gig to moderate two big personalities in Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless. 

This is hardly an instant success story because Champion has paid her dues. In 2011, she spoke with Tennis View Magazine about her humble beginnings. 

When I worked in West Virginia, I was a one-man-band carrying a camera and a tripod and that was God-awful. But I loved it because I wanted to do it. I always wanted to be a reporter.

As The Big Lead Sports points out, she also has an entry in the annals of Urban Dictionary over a moment she allegedly threw out an expletive on live TV. 

Bitten and Bound says she was fired from her Atlanta job while the Urban Dictionary account states she won her job back after the debacle. 

A weird road to the top seems about right for someone destined to hear some pretty ridiculous opinions on everything from Tim Tebow to, well, Tim Tebow. 

Congratulations to Cari Champion. I hope she enjoys unrelenting rants. 

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