Mike Greenberg, Michelle Beadle, and Jalen Rose have completed their first week on ESPN’s new morning show Get Up!. A show that pays three hosts $14.5 million annually, that broke up the long-running Mike & Mike, and had its own studio built is going to create massive expectations. Yes, it is early, but here are some thoughts and a prediction after watching the first week unfold.
Nobody is really getting up for Get Up!
The biggest takeaway through the first week as to be the ratings, right? They have been, to this point, a massive disappointment. The average viewership for the first three days (all that has been counted as of now) is 241,333 a significant drop from 324,778 last year with the much cheaper SportsCenter. The Wednesday version came in just under 200,000, barely more than the ESPN2 version of Mike & Mike drew on the same Wednesday last year (183,000) and well below the 324,000 for SportsCenter on ESPN a year ago. The most likely reason why the show is off to such a slow start is the nostalgia factor. People have been used to waking up to the same style of show for decades and are not willing to adjust to anything new. Get Up!’s ratings are sure to improve once the NBA playoffs begin, especially mornings after games that air on ESPN, but at this point that will be nothing more than fool’s gold.
The format is fresh, unique and fun
Obviously, with so much negative attention being placed on the show’s ratings, the design of the show has been overlooked. Format-wise, ESPN’s newest show is impressive. There are already a slew of sports shows that have personalities talking about sports, but Get Up! is offering something completely different. There is a lot going on each hour. Some segments – so far – work better than others with “Get Up and Go” standing above the rest. The segment that runs at the top of each hour mirrors “Off the Top” that Greenberg was familiar with for years on Mike & Mike quickly running through the top stories of the day. The unrestricted format allowed them to bring on a mentalist the first day for a humorous outing. So far the show has offered a wide range of topics, and is not cloning the topic selection of another daily sports studio shows.
The show is not too serious, it has not touched on politics like some viewers despise, and it does not discuss meaningless topics at large which are all positives.
Get Up could benefit from incorporating personalities from other ESPN shows
The biggest weakness of the show is when the three hosts (four with Booger McFarland) are not involved in one of their unique segments, but instead just discussing sports at the roundtable. None of them offer opinions that will get viewers rushing to their TV sets in the morning to hear their take on what happened the night before. Unless ESPN can reform Greeny, Beadle, or Jalen, they need to start bringing on the people at the company that can do that, many whom did just that for Greenberg on Mike & Mike. Stephen A. Smith, Michael Wilbon, Dan Le Batard, Bomani Jones, Will Cain, Stugotz, Jemele Hill are some that have been used for that purpose in the past, to name a few.
That is what has made Stephen A. Smith, Colin Cowherd, and Skip Bayless the most powerful talents in the business, people hold on to their every word. Whether they love or hate them after a big game sports fans are craving to hear those three the next day. In this case …
Bold Prediction: The show will look different come football season
SC6 officially ended when Jemele Hill left the show in January, but SC6 was not SC6 well before then. By late summer, they had turned the show into a hybrid between what the show was intended to be and the traditional SportsCenter format. The prediction here is Get Up!‘s ratings do improve but not enough. Therefore, they change the format by decreasing the dialogue amongst the hosts. Right now they whip around highlights quickly at the top of each hour and that will become a larger part of the show if this prediction prevails. In addition, the interviews will become less playful and more inclined to make headlines with news. ESPN can use this platform to interview Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski to start the day off with the hottest news in sports — “Today on Get Up, Adam Schefter reported xxx”. To make room, the most personality-driven segment “The Hot Take Factory” could be omitted.
This is not my wish at all, I am over the old way of studio programming, I like the current format, but this would be my guess come September. And if ESPN decides to go this route, it can be expected at least one of the hosts will not approve a la Michael Smith and Jemele Hill.
Best moment so far: What else? the mentalist who can predict the future!
Worst moment so far: Greeny, Beadle, and Jalen dressed up as superheroes, too bad it was not worth anyone’s 1:53.