Max Kellerman To Be Removed from ESPN’s ‘First Take’: Report

by Amy Myers

Max Kellerman might soon be facing his last take with co-star Stephen A. Smith. ESPN is expected to remove Kellerman from the talk show so that Smith will be the sole star of First Take. This will end Kellerman’s five-year career on the show after he replaced Skip Bayless in 2016. Instead of having a constant counterpart, the show will feature a rotating schedule of guests and fellow ESPN hosts depending on the topics. While the seat beside Smith will no longer be the same, fans can still expect to see Molly Qerim Rose as the host.

Although he may no longer be hashing it out with Stephen A. Smith, Kellerman will still host the Max Kellerman Show on ESPN Radio as well as his boxing show on ESPN2. Kellerman may also join another morning network radio show, Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin, as Zubin Mehenti has been absent for medical reasons.

Since the news of Max Kellerman’s departure from First Take, ESPN still has yet to comment on the drastic change to the show. Even though the reason for Kellerman’s exit is unclear, it could very well be that Stephen A. Smith is a strong enough on-air personality alone to continue the show. According to Yahoo! Sports, Smith just signed a five-year extension to his contract in 2019 for which he will receive an $8 million salary. The contract makes Smith the highest-paid ESPN personality. Meanwhile, Kellerman makes around $1 million a year and has a net worth of roughly $6 million.

A Look at Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith’s Heated Moments

Almost always on First Take, Stephen A. Smith was on the opposite side of the spectrum than Max Kellerman. As a result, fans of the show began watching the segment just as much for the heated arguments between the two ESPN personalities as they did the actual conversations.

One example of this was when Molly Qerim Rose brought up the “dynasty” of Bill Belichick and the Patriots without Tom Brady. Max Kellerman claimed that Brady “left the cupboards bare” for the team, leaving them without a strong second-string choice once he was gone. However, Kellerman claimed that the dynasty has always been “more Belichick than Brady” and he would therefore do better than the Patriots did the previous season.

Smith told Kellerman his argument was “ridiculous” and explained, “What I saw for the vast majority of the last 19 years was Tom Brady doing it up.”

Smith and Kellerman began to argue, becoming more agitated with the other’s response. Qerim Rose hid behind her paper and shook it in frustration. While her role was to play the host, she clearly sided with Smith.

Take a look at Kellerman and Smith’s discussion about the Patriots’ leadership below.