NBC quickly hires Maria Taylor after her departure from ESPN
Maria Taylor, the popular sports TV host for ESPN, has now left the network after her contract expired and has since joined the NBC network less than a week after she parted ways with ESPN after her seven-year stint.
Taylor, who was working with ESPN since 2014, was considered one of the best sports hosts in the country. However, after running out of contract with the channel last week, she decided to move on to greener pastures.
LAST SHOW WITH ESPN
As her last presentation for the channel, Taylor hosted the pregame and postgame show for the NBA Finals on Tuesday night, where she hosted the network’s “NBA Countdown” show.
FIRST ASSIGNMENT WITH NBC
NBC is set to announce the arrival of the sportscaster formally during its primetime Olympic show on Friday before a replay of the opening ceremony. Upon arrival, Taylor is set to take the role of representative for the NBC network in Japan, covering the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
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ESPN and Taylor both said, releasing a statement that after seven years of working in conjunction, the two could not find common grounds to sign a contract and that Taylor’s departure from the network was inevitable.
While working for ESPN, Maria Taylor had hosted “NBA Countdown” since 2019, as well as being a reporter for “College GameDay” and ABC “Saturday Night Football” since 2017.
It was revealed that the network had been trying to negotiate a contract with Taylor for the better part of the past year but to no avail. Seeing no points of compromise, the situation started to boil, and it is most likely that Taylor had other things in mind as she stood firm not to renew her contract with the channel. Having rejected an extension last year, Taylor and ESPN were already far apart heading into the NBA Finals. Then to stir things up more, came a New York Times report detailing comments her colleague Rachel Nichols made about Taylor last year during the NBA’s restart in Florida.
Nichols, introduced in September 2019 as the NBA Finals host, was set to carry the role this year as well, but under a “diversification scheme,” the network later decided to promote Taylor, who is of African-American origin.
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RACHEL NICHOLS SCANDAL
In an accidentally recorded phone conversation retrieved by The TIME, Nichols is heard saying, “I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball. If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your (ESPN) crappy longtime record on diversity — which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it — like, go for it. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away.”
After the scandal surfaced, Nichols publicly issued an apology while hosting “The Jump” on July 5 but was sidelined from the NBA Finals host role and was later completely removed from the assignment.
CAREER BOOST WITH NBC
ESPN and Taylor announced last Wednesday that they could not agree on a new contract. Whereas as her first assignment for NBC, Taylor will be covering the Tokyo Olympics and also a host and contributor for “Football Night in America” on Sundays during the NFL season. Additionally, the channel also announced that she would also cover this season’s Super Bowl for the network.
“Maria has excelled in a wide range of roles at marquee events and will be a powerful addition to our team. We are always looking to improve, and Maria is going to make us better. We are very excited for her to join us right away in Tokyo,” said Pete Bevacqua, the chairman of NBC Sports.
A DREAM COME TRUE
“Literally, hosting the Olympics, Football Night in America, and the Super Bowl is what I dreamed of when I started in television, and this would not be possible without standing on the shoulders of all of those who came before me and made this path possible. And I plan to pay it forward.”, said Maria Taylor in an interview.
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