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ESPN's 'NBA Countdown' to Unwrap New Studio for Christmas

When ESPN’s new KIA NBA Countdown team makes their ABC debut on Christmas, they will do so from a brand-new 4,000 square-foot set.

The new set, which will be the largest at ESPN’s Los Angeles Production Center, is highlighted by six automated mobile video monitors and more space and maneuverability for the Countdown analysts. The network says that this will lead to “greater implementation” of video within the show. ESPN’s L.A. base sits across the street from the Staples Center.

Some other features of the new set include:

  • Four 8′ x 5′ LED center displays
  • Two plasma displays on either side of the set
  • Larger oval-shaped desk to foster free-flowing, conversational style of show
  • LED surround curtain that changes color and texture

“This new set (pictured, left) will allow for an even better showcase of the dynamic personalities and various perspectives that defines the program,” said Mark Gross, ESPN senior VP and executive producer. “The combination of more tools and more space will enable our commentators to further emphasize key points and elaborate on analysis, which will significantly enhance the fan experience.”

The new set design is based on ESPN’s new KIA NBA Countdown open package.

The new set will debut during the pregame coverage for ABC’s inaugural telecast of the season, which begins at 2:30 p.m. ET. ABC’s annual Christmas Day doubleheader this year features the New York Knicks vs. Los Angeles Lakers, followed by an NBA Finals rematch with the Oklahoma City Thunder against the Miami Heat.

“Oh, I’m excited,” said Ervin “Magic” Johnson on a Thursday media call. “The gadgets, man, it’s going to blow people away. I can’t wait for Christmas Day.”

Grantland editor-in-chief Bill Simmons and ESPN analyst Jalen Rose joined the studio show this season, along with holdovers Johnson and Pardon the Interruption cohost Michael Wilbon.

ESPN will also air three Christmas Day games, beginning at noon ET, with the Boston Celtics vs. Brooklyn Nets. After ABC’s coverage ends, ESPN continues with an evening doubleheader beginning at 8 p.m. ET, with the Houston Rockets at Chicago Bulls followed by the Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Clippers.

ESPN’s lead broadcast team of Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Heather Cox will work both Knicks-Lakers and Nuggets-Clippers from Los Angeles.