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Max Kellerman Officially Off ESPN's 'First Take' as Stephen A. Smith's Co-Host

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 24, 2021

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Max Kellerman is moving on from his co-host duties on First Take.

ESPN announced Tuesday that the 48-year-old "will be expanding his ESPN Radio role from two to four hours each day" and host a new television series. The company has yet to disclose his successor for First Take.

Kellerman first joined the program in July 2016 after Skip Bayless left for Fox Sports.

The New York Post's Andrew Marchand reported on Aug. 18 that Kellerman was expected to leave First Take and that his departure "has been in the offing for a long time." Instead of a permanent replacement, Marchand reported ESPN may play to have a number of personalities rotate in as co-host alongside Smith and Molly Qerim Rose. The ESPN announcement said an "updated format will be announced soon."

The plan might be to give Smith an even more prominent role than he already occupies. He signed an extension with ESPN in 2019, and The Athletic's Richard Deitsch reported his annual compensation comes in at around $12 million overall.

Whereas Smith has been sharing the marquee with Kellerman for First Take, he may now become the unquestioned star of the daily program.

Those hoping for a reunion between Smith and Bayless can already take that off the table. Marchand reported in March that ESPN "made a full-court press" to pair the two together again, but Bayless instead chose to sign a four-year, $32 million extension with Fox Sports.

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