Disney’s ESPN has released a brand new three-part ESPN+ Original series, “Up For Debate: The Evolution of Sports Media”, which delves into the evolution of sports talk debate programming across seven decades–from Howard Cosell to Stephen A. Smith to Cam’Ron–and explores how sports discourse arrived at this moment, why it’s here now, and where it’s going next.

Featured within the series are various sports personalities including: Troy Aikman, Mina Kimes, Molly Qerim, Shannon Sharpe, Michael Wilbon, Hannah Storm, Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo, Jemele Hill, Bomani Jones, Cari Champion, and Cam’Ron, among many others who’ve shaped the sports debate industry over the years.

  • Episode 1: It Was Written: Journey into the world of sports discourse with Stephen A Smith, the charismatic frontman of ESPN’s First Take, as he takes center stage in dissecting the current landscape of sports media. We dive into the historical roots of sports debate, tracing its origins from print journalism to on-camera personalities like Howard Cosell, and eventually evolving into the debate format that’s present today.
  • Episode 2: Hot Takes + Cold Pizza: Explore the surge in sports debate shows where the spotlight is on personalities who push the boundaries, with opinions and fiery takes that put athletes under the microscope.
  • Episode 3: Success + Successors: As the sports media landscape continues to evolve, personalities like Shannon Sharpe and Cam’Ron are blazing a trail for the future by building their own platforms and launching personal media brands.

Executive Producer Stephen A. Smith said in a statement regarding the new series:

“We’re diving deep into the heart of the game, breaking down barriers and showcasing the evolution of sports discourse. From the legends who paved the way to the current Kings and Queens of the mic, we’re bringing you a front-row seat to the passion and intensity that fuel debates in today’s generation of sports. So buckle up! Here we come.”

Religion of Sports’ Gotham Chopra, who serves as an Executive Producer on the series also added:

“We’re thrilled to partner with Stephen A. Smith, a pioneer and undisputed legend in the world of sports talk, on this entertaining and fascinating series. Highlighting both the evolution of sports media and a wide range of beloved personalities, we know that fans of sports, media, and passionate debate are going to love it.”

“Up For Debate: The Evolution of Sports Media” is produced by Religion of Sports (Man In The Arena and upcoming In The Arena: Serena Williams) and Mr. SAS Productions in association with ESPN+. The series is executive produced by Stephen A. Smith, Erik Parker, and Religion of Sports’ Gotham Chopra, Ameeth Sankaran, and Victor Buhler.

This new series is available to stream now on ESPN+, and you can also watch “Up For Debate: The Evolution of Sports Media” via ESPN+ on Hulu.  In December, ESPN On Disney+ will be launching in the United States, allowing ESPN+ subscribers to be able access content similar to how Hulu On Disney+ works.

Are you going to check out “Up For Debate: The Evolution of Sports Media”?  Let me know on social media!


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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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