Is Max Kellerman Leaving 'First Take'? Reports Suggest ESPN May Move Anchor On

ESPN is set to remove Max Kellerman as co-host of its flagship First Take show, according to reports. This would mean one of TV's most recognized duos are seemingly on the verge of being split up.

According to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, the network is considering moving Kellerman on to "more extended duty on TV and ESPN radio", leaving Stephen A. Smith and Molly Qerim Rose as First Take co-hosts.

Should Max Kellerman leave the show, First Take is not expected to replace him, opting instead to leave Smith to debate "various ESPN personalities and high-profile guests", as per the report.

Kellerman replaced Skip Bayless as the host of First Take in July 2016 when the latter moved to FOX Sports to host the Undisputed alongside NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe.

Following Kellerman's arrival the show was moved from ESPN2 to ESPN, with the 48-year-old and Smith developing a strong on-screen relationship. The latter became ESPN's highest-paid sportscaster in 2019, when he signed a five-year extension worth approximately $8 million per year.

Front Office Sports added that among the options ESPN was considering was that of moving Kellerman, who has hosted the eponymous Max Kellerman Show on ESPN Radio since last year and hosts his own boxing show on ESPN2, to the morning radio show Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin.

The show features former NFL star Keyshawn Johnson, former NBA player Jay Williams and ESPN anchor Zubin Mehenti, who has been absent for significant amount of times due to health issues.

It did not take long for Twitter to seize on Kellerman's reported exit from First Take.

The picture of an exhausted Jimmy Butler in the NBA playoffs became a meme as users suggested Smith would dearly miss his co-host and be left listening to fellow ESPN analysts Kendrick Perkins and Ryan Hollins.

Stephen A when Max Kellerman leaves so he has to listen to Perkins and Hollins every day pic.twitter.com/fMXhEWTIoo

— NBA Memes (@NBAMemes) August 18, 2021

Hollins, a former NBA journeyman, has long been one of Kellerman's favorite targets.

When Giannis Antetokounmpo won his first MVP crown in 2019, Kellerman told Hollins the Milwaukee Bucks star was "a guy your size but really good at basketball."

Following news of Kellerman's potential departure from First Take, the clip has gone viral.

After hearing the news of Max Kellerman potentially leaving ESPN's First Take, this will always be Max's best ether on the show. pic.twitter.com/aHE7kwW0Op

— Kris Thomas (@Kris_Thomas23) August 19, 2021

Others joked Kellerman's replacement would be none other than Smith himself, hinting the firebrand host had more than enough hot takes to fill in for his co-host.

First take when Max Kellerman gets moved … pic.twitter.com/egszI89CYz

— Tingz N Wingz (@_RoboCop_8) August 19, 2021

Predictably, it was not lost on Twitter that Kellerman could be replaced before Tom Brady.

During an episode of First Take in 2016, Kellerman famously argued the veteran quarterback was "just about done" and would soon "fall off a cliff". In the following five years, Brady won three Super Bowls in four appearances and a league MVP crown.

Max Kellerman actually fell off the cliff before Tom Brady even retired 🤯😂 https://t.co/kbaT3Ysa2D

— Jordan Moore (@iJordanMoore) August 18, 2021

After Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Super Bowl LV in January, Kellerman poked fun at himself, acknowledging the veteran quarterback had completely defied his forecast.

"Tom Brady has had a full Hall of Fame career...in the time SINCE I made the cliff prediction," he tweeted after the NFC Championship Game.

Tom Brady has had a full Hall of Fame career...in the time SINCE I made the cliff prediction.

— Max Kellerman (@maxkellerman) January 24, 2021

Newsweek has contacted ESPN for comment.

Max Kellerman of ESPN
ESPN First Take's host Max Kellerman attends the 2021 Sports Humanitarian Awards on July 12 in New York City. Dimitrios Kambouris