The new ESPN show Get Up that replaced the traditional morning SportsCenter edition is still struggling to gain traction in the television ratings, which apparently may require the self-named worldwide leader to make some difficult decisions by the fall.
Airing from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday, the chat show which some touted as a cross between SportsCenter and Good Morning America/Today, features principal host Mike Greenberg along with co-hosts Michelle Beadle and ex-NBA player Jalen Rose. The show airs from a pricey new studio in lower Manhattan rather than ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. Get Up debuted on April 2 after an extensive publicity campaign and months in development.
To create Get Up, ESPN ended the 18-year, Mike & Mike (Greenberg and Golic) radio/TV simulcast partnership and relocated Beadle from the LA-based SportsNation.
The Hollywood Reporter previously detailed that ESPN is paying “Greeny” $6.5 million and Beadle and Rose $5 million and $3 million, respectively, for their services, despite having laid off hundreds of staffers at its Bristol, Connecticut, headquarters and elsewhere as recently as November 2017. ESPN is obviously also on the hook for the salaries of the newly built New York City facility’s production and support staff.
“A THR headline describing Get Up as ‘woke’ politically also frustrated Greenberg, who declared the show would be all sports, period,” the Sporting News reported.
In terms of viewership and acceptance, according to the Sporting News, Get Up is still on the canvas.
“Since premiering…the expensive new show has suffered from underwhelming ratings, poor critical reviews and work-in-progress chemistry between [its] co-stars…On the fly, it’s also trying to figure out what kind of show it wants to be. Does it focus on news, highlights and the feel-good, inspirational sports moments Greenberg likes? Or go big on controversial takes from Beadle and Rose?
“The result? The expensive Get Up is on a short leash, sources said. No, it won’t be canceled this year. But if the show doesn’t jell by the Sep. 6 kickoff of the NFL season, look for changes in front of and behind the camera, sources said. Football season is when sports talks shows make their money.”
An ESPN content exec told the news outlet that the show is a work in progress and confirmed that viewership spikes during football season. And ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro acknowledged that management is analyzing Get Up‘s real-time traction on a daily basis to determine what’s working and what’s not, especially in the opening segment. The network believes in the morning show, he affirmed.
The Sporting News added that Get Up has apparently created something of a morale problem among the staff at the Bristol mothership, who apparently feel that all the cool kids got to relocate to New York City.
The publication also noted that Michelle Beadle, in an “unforced error,” called for the San Francisco 49ers to cut Reuben Foster, but she did not apologize or make a correction after the alleged victim recanted her domestic violence allegations against the linebacker.
The show might add a fourth panelist during football season, but The Big Lead website claims that instead, Get Up would actually be better off with just two hosts.
A source reportedly told the Sporting News that “you don’t change the team. You change the players and coaches. That’s what would happen with Get Up.”
A team is comprised of the players and coaches, however, so that comment sounds like big changes could be on the horizon for Get Up, possibly including cancellation or reverting back to the standard SportsCenter format, which could be tantamount to cancellation.