It’s also been airing for only a month, which is hardly enough time to pass much in the way of judgment about anything, really. ESPN can hang its hat on the fact that the show premiered without the rising tide of the NFL regular season to buoy it and that things can only get better — last Friday’s show, airing the morning after the NFL draft’s first round, drew a series-high 434,000 viewers — but it also can’t deny that people simply aren’t tuning in. As compiled by the Big Lead’s Ryan Glasspiegel, “Get Up” ratings were nearly 18 percent lower than those of the “SportsCenter” episodes that aired in the same time slot in April 2017. Viewership for “First Take,” the argument show that follows, also dipped by 6 percent from the same time period in 2017.
Lost in all this ratings talk is whether the show is actually any good. Admittedly, my work day down at the WaPo content farm is already well underway by the time “Get Up” starts each morning so I haven’t been tuning in, but I managed to catch about 45 minutes of Thursday’s show. Some random observations:
— The show is remarkably static, with the three hosts sitting around a big table and talking, sometimes to one another, sometimes over highlights. But that’s a whole lot of what the show seems to be: sitting and talking, for three hours.
— They had nominal NFL reporter Sal Paolantonio on as something of a fourth host, and in the segment I saw he was talking about … the NBA?
— At one point late in the show the group got to talking about Charles Barkley’s comments about punching Draymond Green, which sparked some disagreement about on-camera propriety and whatnot. Things were edging ever so close to illumination, as the four talked about the responsibilities inherent in their jobs, when Greenberg suddenly screeched things to a halt to introduce an NFL draft segment with Todd McShay. Not the draft that happened last week, but the draft that’s approximately 358 days away. Why? Spinning things forward is one thing. Putting up the Christmas decorations on Jan. 15 is another.
A snapshot of one episode is hardly indicative of the show as a whole, kind of like how 30 days worth of bad ratings won’t doom “Get Up” But as it stands now, the narrative isn’t whether “Get Up” is actually worth watching but rather that few people actually are watching, and if that story line lingers into NFL season, ESPN will know that it has made a very expensive mistake.
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