Behind The Scenes

Inside Kia NBA Countdown

Kia NBA Countdown, the NBA pregame show airing on both ESPN and ABC, has introduced several new elements this season.

Previously taped in Bristol, Conn., the show now originates from the ESPN Los Angeles Production Center at L.A. Live — across the street from STAPLES Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers.

Kia NBA Countdown also benefits from an expanded role for Hall of Famer Earvin (Magic) Johnson — joining Jon Barry, Michael Wilbon and Chris Broussard — throughout the entire season.

The show’s evolution has included changes to the format as well, now sporting a more lively roundtable structure with strong opinions, discussion and debate.

ESPN Front Row recently visited L.A. to capture a typical day in the life of the NBA studio experience (see video as well).

Typically a week-long process, the development of each show begins with a rundown, a loose depiction of the topics to be covered within the 30-minute episode. The rundown is constantly updated to reflect feedback from the analysts, along with breaking news and other storylines as they unfold throughout the week.

Several hours before the show, producers meet with the commentators to discuss each segment in fine detail. With everyone on the same page, the analysts depart for makeup and then to the set for rehearsal.


At the conclusion of the pregame show, the crew returns to the conference room – with numerous monitors tuned to NBA action – to watch all the games.

On this particular evening, there is some friendly banter over Jon‘s inclusion of Orlando’s Ryan Anderson as one of his top five power forwards in the game and a quick bite to eat before returning to the set for the halftime show.

Immediately after the last halftime segment, it’s back to the conference room for more NBA viewing. It’s a basketball fan’s dream to hear Magic, “JB,” Michael and Chris talk hoops and to witness their passion for the game.

Fortunately, the night is still young.

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