First Take

Behind the scenes of First Take with coordinating producer Whitney Albohm

Whitney Albohm (Joe Faraoni/ESPN)
Whitney Albohm (Joe Faraoni/ESPN)


Through a series of interviews with key members of the production staff, Front Row is taking fans behind the scenes of First Take (ESPN2, 10 a.m. ET), the popular weekday debate and discussion show featuring moderator Molly Qerim and debaters Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith.

Next up is coordinating producer Whitney Albohm, who joined ESPN in 2009 and started working on First Take in 2012. Albohm oversees the show’s successful production team, which has helped First Take post its most-watched month ever for the second straight month. Below is what Albohm had to say about the show and the team in front of and behind the camera.

First Take recently did a live show from Westover Air Reserve Base for Veterans Day. What is the atmosphere like on the road?
The atmosphere is very special, especially for our Veterans Day shows. We have been very lucky to have the opportunity to bring the show to several military institutions over the years and it has been an honor to put on a show in front of our servicemen and servicewomen.

September and October were the most-watched months ever for First Take. What made these months so successful?
The recent success of First Take isn’t a result of a new gimmick or big change; it’s the result of the hard work the talent and team put in on a daily basis. Everyone has been working tirelessly at perfecting the format that has been in place since the re-brand and it’s nice to see the recent results.

What is it like working with Skip, Stephen A. and Molly?
They are a tremendous group. Skip and Stephen A. are two of the hardest-working and most dedicated people I have ever met and they have a wealth of experience and knowledge. Molly has been a wonderful addition to the team. She works incredibly hard and is carving out a great spot on the show. It has been very nice to see her make an immediate impact.

What is the one thing you want people to know about the show?
First Take has an incredibly passionate following, which is especially evident when we hit the road. In Scottsdale [Ariz.] and New York City for the Super Bowls, we had fans lining up the night before so they could sit front and center behind Skip and Stephen A. It’s amazing to see the connection the guys have with these avid sports fans and the impact they have on the fans’ daily lives.

On Nov. 9 at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, Mass.,  the First Take team of Stephen A. Smith, Whit Albohm and Skip Bayless huddle while preparing for the show's ESPN Veterans Week special.  (Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)
On Nov. 9 at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, Mass., First Take colleagues (L-R) Stephen A. Smith, Whit Albohm and Skip Bayless huddle while preparing for the show’s ESPN Veterans Week special.
(Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)
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