If you were watching or listening to the start of First Take this morning, you might have noticed ESPN2’s morning debate show – featuring Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith with host Molly Qerim – premiered a new opening theme song, created exclusively for the show entitled “Every Word Great” by popular recording artist Wale [EDITOR’S NOTE: See full open below].
Wale, who created the show’s previous opening theme song in 2013, worked closely with First Take’s producers to develop custom lyrics that complement the show’s goal of informed, entertaining debate. Kevin Wilson, ESPN music director, said, “Wale’s theme captures the attitude of the show while giving it an edge and a modern vibe that sets it apart from other sports-based theme songs.”
Vice President, ESPN Production, Marcia Keegan added: “The new open came at a very fortunate time for the show. We have more eyes on First Take than ever – with December  being our most-watched month in the show’s history – and we are thrilled to continue evolving with our fans.”
First Take ended 2015 with its four most-watched and highest-rated months on record, September through December.
– VP, ESPN Production,
First Take’s coordinating producer, Antoine Lewis, provides a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the new open.
“[In 2013] we were looking for an artist for the open and Wale was a friend of First Take,” he explained. “He was really excited about the opportunity to create a sound for the show, and he was willing to blend our mission and guidelines with his creativity. So that is how version 1.0 came about.
“This time, we wanted to freshen up the open. Other artists came forward wanting to re-do the song for us, but we wanted to maintain the feel and energy of the current theme. It started as just a kernel of an idea and Wale came up with four versions in the studio for the new song before we picked the one that worked best. Wale really took it seriously and listened to feedback from our team to create version 2.0, and we couldn’t be happier with the decision.
– CP Antoine Lewis
Wale approached this just like a regular recording session, Lewis said.
“Everyone loves the passion and professionalism he brings; we really get an appreciation for his artistry and his process of creating music as he sets a thematic tone for our show,” Lewis said. “In the end, we think we have a good signature tune viewers will enjoy as they sing along. When they hear the first note there is no doubt that it is time to gather in front of the television because First Take is about to come on and pump up the volume in music and in our sports discussions.”
In addition to serving as a new theme song, the new show opening reflects the July addition of Qerim as host.
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