ESPN’s layoffs as of late have been well documented, with the latest coming in the form of longtime NBA analyst Mark Jackson. The company’s NBA coverage next season will look entirely different after this round of layoffs, and is a culprit for why former NBA Countdown host Michelle Beadle believes that TNT is “dominating” ESPN in their NBA coverage.
Beadle famously served as one of the hosts of NBA Countdown from 2016-2019 before leaving the company entirely in the summer of 2019.
She particularly detailed in an interview with Front Office Sports how she believes that NBA Countdown has never been given “a chance to marinate.”
“That position and that show has never been allowed to marinate and it’s sort of why you continue to see change,” said Beadle. “It’s unfortunate and it’s why TNT dominates because they’re allowed to marinate for decades and the product gets better with year after year. So that’s my simple take on what I observed while I was there [at ESPN].”
Beadle certainly has a point when you compare ESPN’s pregame show NBA Countdown to TNT’s Inside The NBA. There have been five NBA Countdown hosts (Maria Taylor, Sage Steele, Doris Burke, Michelle Beadle, and Hannah Storm) that are either no longer employed with the company or simply aren’t involved in the show anymore.
Meanwhile, NBA on TNT has stuck with their cast of regulars including Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley. Ernie Johnson, and Kenny Smith. That group has been together since O’Neal joined the company in 2011.
One of ESPN’s recent layoffs included Jalen Rose, who was a part of the NBA Countdown crew this past season, meaning that the show will yet again have another year of turnover.