New set for The Jump inspired by Manhattan spaces

The new set of The Jump (Scott Clarke/ESPN Images)
Here’s a look at the new set of The Jump.
(Scott Clarke/ESPN Images)
Rachel Nichols’ thoughts on the new set

“On our first show this season, I was trying to get to the basketball talk, and all the guys wanted to do in the first five minutes on the air was talk about the set. It looks so much like a cool downtown loft that [ESPN NBA reporter] Brian Windhorst told viewers we were doing the show from my apartment now – I should be so lucky!”

ESPN’s weekday NBA studio show, The Jump hosted by Rachel Nichols (weekdays, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2), returned last week with a new studio set in the Los Angeles Production Center for the show’s second season and the start of the 2016-17 campaign.
In advance of today’s 3 p.m. ET show (note the special time) in the run up to ESPN’s NBA doubleheader, the Chicago Bulls versus the Boston Celtics (8 p.m., ESPN) and the Oklahoma City Thunder versus the L.A. Clippers (10:30 p.m., ESPN), Front Row spoke with a few of the key creative decision makers on what went into creating the new set.

How did the idea of changing the studio set come together?
Alex Tyner, ESPN senior director, Studio Design & Development: When The Jump launched earlier last season, there was very little time for development and the set needed to be flexible. The goal for Season 2 was to provide Rachel with a more sophisticated space that is devoted to the show, but can still be removed during the offseason.

The Jump previews Durant vs. Westbrook on Thursday

The Jump will be live in San Francisco on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 with host Rachel Nichols, analyst Stephen Jackson and NBA Insider Marc Stein. Among the things they will discuss: The Golden State Warriors play host to the Oklahoma City Thunder that night, marking the first matchup of longtime Thunder teammates Kevin Durant – who is now a Warrior – and Russell Westbrook as opponents.

What elements changed?
Daniel Cunningham, ESPN creative director, Studio Design & Development: Shortly after the conclusion of Season 1, I met with Rachel and Vice President, Original Content Kevin Wildes to discuss design and gather inspiration from such places as the NBA Store on 5th Avenue, The Nike Store, and others. The goal was to create an understanding of where Season 2 should take The Jump’s scenic environment to best represent Rachel’s dynamic personality while infusing the flavors of the NBA.

Rachel wanted a space that felt like a real room where people can come together to talk about the NBA. The existing set was taken down to its structural frame and replaced with all new scenic walls, floor, table, props and lighting accents.

What does the new set do for the show and how will it be utilized going forward?
Wildes: People walk onto the set and immediately start talking about how cool it feels. You can see and hear people’s energy level rise just by being in a comfortable and cool setting. That vibe then carries over to the conversations that happen on air. We couldn’t be happier with the end results.

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