First Take

Behind the Scenes of First Take with segment producer Brian Bourque

Brian Bourque works in the control room during First Take. (Joe Faraoni/ESPN)
Brian Bourque works in the control room during First Take.
(Joe Faraoni/ESPN)

Front Row is taking fans behind the scenes of First Take through a series of interviews with key production personnel. Next up is Brian Bourque, segment producer of First Take. Bourque joined ESPN in 2008 as a production assistant on SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight. In addition to producing segments, he is now part of a rotation that produces the show.

September was First Take’s highest-rated and most-watched month ever with an average of 458,000 viewers, an increase of 12 percent from September of last year. Read more ratings info on ESPN MediaZone. First Take is televised on ESPN2 weekdays at 10 a.m. ET. Molly Qerim is the moderator with debaters Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith.


What has been your favorite experience with First Take so far?
Every time we go on the road for special events it’s been great, but my favorite experience was our trip this year to Dallas for the inaugural College Football Playoff Championship Game. I work with a bunch of great people and nothing is more rewarding than working with my First Take team to produce shows in front of our fans.

How has the addition of Molly as full-time moderator added to the dynamic on the show?
Molly is not only incredibly hard-working, but she has a very high sports IQ. She fits perfectly with Skip and Stephen A., and the comfort level between the three makes for compelling television. She can hold her own at the desk with two big voices, and I respect her greatly for that.

What do you consider a successful show?
Entertaining and informative television is the ultimate goal. We learn from every show and move forward to produce a better show the next day. That is the bar we set for ourselves. People watching and spreading the good word, that’s all we can really ask for.

What’s one thing you want people to know about First Take?
First Take is authentic, ground-breaking and must-see. The one thing I really want people to know, however, is that anything can happen and you’ll be surprised by something each and every day.

What excites you most for the future of the show?
The success of the show has been overwhelming and I believe it’s only going to get better. Debate is one of the more compelling parts of television and there might not be anyone better at it than Skip and Stephen A. We get more fans every day and more people are waking up each day asking, “What will Skip and Stephen A. say today?”

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