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Volume 26 No. 174
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Details Trickling Out About ESPN's Revamped "NBA Countdown" Show

ESPN's Maria Taylor will host "NBA Countdown" on Fridays and Sundays in studio, while Rachel Nichols' daily show "The Jump" is "receiving a bump up," according to sources cited by Andrew Marchand of the N.Y. POST. It was first thought that Nichols and Taylor would "split 'Countdown'" in place of Michelle Beadle, who is reportedly in talks to leave the net. Right now, "The Jump" is "expected to be on site" this season for ABC's broadcast of Saturday matchups. This "would seemingly give Nichols and 'The Jump' the inside track on being the lead-in to the Finals, which is the Holy Grail for NBA hosts." However, sources said that the "format for the Finals presentation has not been completed yet." Meanwhile, Stephen A. Smith "could lead an expanded 'SportsCenter' on Wednesdays as ESPN is eliminating 'Countdown' for those nights." ESPN's Wednesday games will "largely be earlier this season, so instead of 'Countdown,' the current thought is to make Smith the center of attention, leading into that night's action." While Jalen Rose is "expected back on 'Countdown,' Paul Pierce may not be on the show any longer, though he could still remain at the network" (N.Y. POST, 9/4).