Michael Smith and Jemele Hill chats of the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Golden State Warriors during Game Five of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 12, 2017 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. (Bruce Yeung/NBAE via Getty Images)

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ESPN: ‘SportsCenter’ Ratings Up Since Exit of Michael Smith and Jemele Hill

The network says ratings for its flagship show were up nine percent year-over-year in April.

In a press release about Stephen A. Smith taking an expanded role on SportsCenter for the NBA Finals, ESPN also included some nuggets the show’s former hosts might find interesting.

According to ESPN, ratings for the 6 p.m. edition of the network’s flagship show are up for the second month in a row following the departure of hosts Jemele Hill and Michael Smith.

Thanks to “keying on delivering fans up-to-the-minute news, previews and analysis of the night’s slate of games and events,” the ratings were up four percent year-over-year in March and nine percent year-over-year in April.

While also covering sports, Hill and Smith’s version of the show also touched on culture, politics and other societal issues from time to time. Apparently, ESPN decided that didn’t work.

“The 6 p.m. SportsCenter has focused on including breaking news as well as an emphasis on ‘setting the table’ for the night in sports,” ESPN VP David Roberts said in the release. “The response from viewers has been fantastic, as April’s increases indicated an appetite for coverage of the biggest stories in sports, such as: the Masters, the NBA and NHL playoffs, the return of MLB to Puerto Rico and the lead-up to the NFL Draft. During the playoffs, the show takes on even greater importance in informing fans.”

Read the full story at Awful Announcing