‘First Take’ Host Explains Why Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman Are More Than Talking Heads

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Whether you love or hate ESPN’s “First Take,” the show usually serves its main purpose — getting you to watch/talk about it.

But perhaps you’ll have a slightly different view of the popular show that “embraces debate” after reading what host Molly Qerim had to say about it.

“The show is fearless,” Qerim said in a recent interview with For The Win’s Luke Kerr-Dineen. “It goes places where other shows don’t. I love it because it’s passion. We love sports, we love what we do, and we’re all really invested in it.”

“I’m in meetings every day,” she added, “and there’s never once been a conversation where we’ve said, ‘I’ll take this side, can you take this side because it’s good television?’ Max (Kellerman) and Stephen A. (Smith) are both very opinionated, so we’re picking subjects where there’s a point of contention, but nothing needs to be embellished or hyped up for TV. This is a debate show. That passion you see comes from strong convictions. If it’s acting, we should all get Emmys for producing 10 hours of live TV a week.”

The show has been through its host of changes, primarily when Skip Bayless left to be the star of FOX Sports 1’s debate show “Undisputed” and was replaced by Kellerman. But it still keeps chugging along.

Still, there are plenty of challenges for Qerim as the moderator, especially when Smith and Kellerman are engaged in heated discussions.

“What I hate to do is break things up when (Stephen A. and Max) are really going at it,” Qerim told FTW. “You can tell when it’s going to happen…I’ve got a producer shouting in my ear, and they’re just going at it and they’re not listening to me. I love them, but sometimes I want to kill them both. I always jokingly tell them afterwards ‘you know, guys, there are these things called commercials.'”

Click to read more of Qerim’s interview with FTW >>

Thumbnail photo via Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports Images

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