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Last week, Skip Bayless made comments about Dak Prescott and depression. Bayless found himself in a social media tempest. Even if Bayless was right that his comments were widely misconstrued to have been about Prescott’s mental health due to his brother’s death by suicide, when Bayless indeed specified that he was referencing the period of the pandemic before that happened, the segment lacked requisite empathy for mental health.
Amidst all the calls for Bayless to be fired or suspended, he remained on FS1’s Undisputed and the ratings have been robust in the two shows since. On Friday, the day Bayless addressed the Prescott remarks, Undisputed averaged 175,000 viewers. On Monday, Undisputed averaged 302,000, which is a superb number for the show.
While Monday didn’t set an FS1 record for Undisputed — the record was set on Black Friday last year with 366,000 viewers — this represented the highest number in recent memory and was about a 20 percent increase versus the first Monday of NFL season in 2019 (252,000 viewers).
For comparison: On Monday, ESPN’s First Take still beat Undisputed head-to-head, garnering 477,000 viewers. However, this number was down about 19 percent from the 592,000 viewers the program averaged on last year’s first NFL Monday.
I haven’t done a full analysis on this, but anecdotally I’ve observed that people do tend to tune into Undisputed in greater numbers to see how Bayless responds after a Cowboys loss. Last year, the Cowboys beat the Giants in Week 1 and this year they fell to the Rams. However, it’s also reasonable to believe that he received a bump in viewership from last week’s controversy.
Disclosure: Outkick founder Clay Travis is an on-air personality at FS1.