As expected, Michelle Beadle will no longer host ESPN’s NBA pregame show, “NBA Countdown,” but the network is making more changes than that. Rachel Nichols and her daily afternoon studio show, “The Jump” will now serve as the pre-eminent pregame show for ESPN and ABC’s marquee games.
“The Jump” will become the on-site pregame show for all Saturday night games that air on ABC, as well as the Christmas Day game and the NBA Finals. “The Jump” will still air daily at 3 p.m. ET.
“NBA Countdown” will still serve as the pregame studio show for the rest of ESPN and ABC’s NBA schedule, with Maria Taylor taking over as host from Beadle. An individual with knowledge of the plans told TheWrap that Beadle and ESPN are close to finalizing an agreement for the two to mutually part ways.
Taylor will continue to be part of ESPN’s college football and women’s college basketball coverage. Jalen Rose will return to “Countdown” with Paul Pierce shifting over to a broader role across ESPN’s NBA coverage. Jay Williams will fill Pierce’s spot on “Countdown.”
“The NBA is incredibly important to all that we do,” Connor Schell, ESPN executive vice president of content, said. “This new pregame studio strategy will continue to elevate our NBA coverage and will be led by a talented array of voices who are committed to excellence, understand how to communicate to NBA fans, and are deeply passionate about the sport. We can’t wait for the season to get started.”