On the heels of ESPN’s Michelle Beadle saying on Thursday’s episode of morning show “Get Up!” that she will be skipping both the upcoming college football and NFL seasons, the network announced Friday evening that it will be moving the hub of its NBA coverage back to Los Angeles, with Beadle playing a lead role.
Per a release, NBA Countdown will originate from L.A. again this season after it moved to New York with Beadle and co-host Jalen Rose in the middle of the 2017-18 season. The release said that Beadle has agreed to a contract extension with ESPN, and “will return to Los Angeles to focus on the NBA.” Her last “Get Up!” episode, which she has co-hosted with Rose and Mike Greenberg since its inception, will be Aug. 29.
In addition to the change among its hosts, “Get Up!” will be cut by one hour and air from 8-10 a.m. on ESPN. Beadle will also host a new postgame show called “NBA After the Buzzer” which will feature Countdown panelists Rose, Paul Pierce and Chauncey Billups, and the group will remain on air for a 15-minute extra show following Countdown, called “NBA Courtside.”
“We are extremely excited to launch ESPN’s first ever NBA post-game show,” ESPN Executive Vice President Connor Schell said in the release. “We’re doubling down on our NBA studio content at a time when the NBA is red-hot and fan interest continues to surge, and we are doing it with Michelle, as she is so important to our coverage. As the basketball world looks to L.A. with renewed interest, we’ll be right there to cover it.”
Beadle’s role on “Get Up!” will be filled by a rotating cast of ESPN personalities, including Maria Taylor, Laura Rutledge, Dianna Russini and Jen Lada. News of the changes was first reported by The Big Lead.
Beadle made national headlines Thursday when she said during a discussion of the Urban Meyer suspension from Ohio State that “I believe that the sport of football has set itself up to be in a position where it shows itself in the bigger picture to not really care about women — they don’t really care about people of color, but we won’t get into that for [the] NFL either. But as a woman, I feel like a person who has been marginalized.”
She also noted that this will be the second season in which she will choose not to watch college football on Saturdays or the NFL on Sundays. It certainly makes sense to assume that what she said about football played a part in this turn of events at ESPN, especially in light of ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro’s remarks from last week stressing the importance of the network’s relationship with the NFL. According to a person with knowledge of the situation, though, Beadle’s new role has been in the works for some time, and had nothing to do with her comments Thursday morning.