The NBA Countdown merry-go-round is reportedly going to be continuing this fall.

According to Richard Deitsch of The Athletic, Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor will reportedly be splitting the hosting duties on Countdown this season, replacing Michelle Beadle.

Furthermore, Jalen Rose will return as an analyst on Countdown, while Chauncey Billups moves from the studio into a role as a game analyst. The status of Paul Pierce for the 2019-20 season remains a question.

As for Beadle? Her future is far murkier, with Deitsch also reporting that she’ll be working on-air “somewhere,” if not at ESPN.

This news was actually first reported two months ago by Sports By Brooks, though we were somewhat skeptical at the time given Brooks’ long sabbatical away from social media and a public-facing life on the internet as a whole, and because of the dramatic shifts it would cause for ESPN’s programming (though with Deitsch reporting that Nichols will still host The Jump and ESPN announcing that Taylor’s college football workload will remain the same, perhaps they’re just going to be more visible in more roles this year).

The role of Beadle going forward is the biggest question mark. A year ago, she left Get Up after mere months as one of the show’s cohosts, and refocused on the NBA and Countdown. That move away from Get Up also included a contract extension of an unspecified length. Here we are now, a year later, and Beadle’s role as Countdown host appears to be gone. It’s hard to see her hosting NFL or college football studio shows, given her public stance about football last year that spurred her move away from Get Up, and with that and Countdown both out of the picture, finding a role for her at ESPN is increasingly difficult (especially given the network’s pivot back to SportsCenter and highlights over the last year under Norby Williamson).

As for other networks, Turner would be the best fit for her given their bevy of NBA rights, but Beadle won’t be displacing Ernie Johnson as lead NBA host any time soon, so would they have interest? NBC is definitely out of the picture given the bad blood between them and Beadle during her abbreviated prior stint at the network. Fox could be a fit, but they have plenty of hosts (including Rob Stone, Charissa Thompson, and even Curt Menefee) that don’t appear to be going anywhere.

I hate to end this with so much uncertainty, but Beadle’s removal from Countdown will create more questions than answers. Here’s hoping that we find out what’s going on sooner rather than later, and Beadle isn’t stuck in purgatory for months.

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.