I don’t know if there’s a show in the sports television that garners as much attention for its changing cast as ESPN’s NBA Countdown. Between the network’s inability to find a cast they like or connects with audiences with the looming shadow of TNT always there, to the Magi Johnson c drama to the Bill Simmons drama to the Bill and Magic possible drama. There’s always something going on with this show, and the news is almost never positive.
That’s why it might be a positive sign that the network won’t attempt to blow up its NBA studio show for the umpteenth time following the departure of Simmons. NBA Countdown will remain with a trio of host Sage Steele and analysts Jalen Rose and Doug Collins for Friday nights on ESPN and Sundays on ESPN and ABC. They will make their preseason debut next Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET, and make their regular season debut the following Wednesday.
The regular Wednesday Countdown team of host Doris Burke, Rose and Avery Johnson will return on November 5th.
Some special features of this season on: a performance by Aloe Blacc (the “and you can tell everybody” guy) on opening night, during the one-hour season debut of the show; and a first-ever regular season on location show, as Countdown is live from Miami for ABC and ESPN’s Christmas Day telecasts, including a 2 p.m. ET pre game before ABC’s doubleheader, which includes the Heat hosting LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Will it all work as a show? Who knows. Will there be extra pressure, considering Bill Simmons has his own NBA show that will debut very soon? Possibly. But all things considered, NBA Countdown should at the very least be a little quieter on the sports media pages this season.