Maria Taylor in talks with ESPN rival NBC: report
The ESPN reporter and anchor is reportedly being courted for "Football Night in America," Olympic coverage and "TODAY"
Though ESPN host Maria Taylor has been making headlines recently, it hasn’t hurt her marketability. According to a report from Fox News, Taylor is currently being courted by ESPN rival NBC for some high-visibility positions at the network.
While in negotiations to extend her deal at ESPN, where she is reportedly pondering a $3M a year deal, tripling her current salary, Taylor has potentially been offered the chance to host NBC’s high-rated Football Night in America show, host coverage of the Olympics and report for the Today Show.
The Fox report says that Taylor could replace NBC Football Night in America host Mike Tirico who is said to be eyeing the seat Al Michaels may be departing. Michaels is currently the play-by-play announcer next to Chris Collinsworth on Sunday Night Football, but at 76, it is reasonably expected that his retirement is going to be sooner than later.
Michaels has been a sports broadcaster since the late 70s, according to Sportscasting.com and Tirico leaving his host position on the highly-rated show leaves a void Taylor could fill.
“The deal’s at the half-yard line. But that can still be a long way in contract negotiations,” Fox said, citing an unnamed source.
Taylor, the current host of NBA Countdown, would follow former ESPN reporter turned Good Morning America host Robin Roberts as another multifaceted addition to a morning show lineup if she does make the leap.
Michael Strahan, one of Good Morning America’s top personalities, came from the sports world, as well, starting his career as a defensive end for the New York Giants. He also hosts Fox’s NFL Sunday show.
That trajectory is another that Taylor could mimic as the Fox report says that she might also be sought out to host the new Amazon Prime Thursday Night Football coverage if NBC doesn’t sign her to an exclusive deal.
Front Office Sports was the first to report that Taylor’s ESPN deal ends this summer. Taylor’s last deal was signed in 2018, per the outlet, and she is reportedly asking for $5M to remain at the network. The 34-year-old Atlanta native was a two-sport star at the University of Georgia where the 6’2 athlete played basketball and volleyball.
She’s been at ESPN covering college and pro football and basketball since 2014 and is currently hosting NBA Countdown.
Fellow ESPN personality Rachel Nichols, a veteran who hosts the NBA show The Jump, generated controversy earlier this month when it was revealed that on a ‘hot mic’ video recording from the ‘bubble’ in Orlando last year, she implied that Taylor’s promotion was due to the network’s diversity initiatives.
Taylor has made no direct comment about the controversy or about any contract negotiations.
Per theGrio, she posted on her Twitter account earlier this month that she had taken some punches but was “still in the fight.”
“During the dark times, I always remember that I am in this position to open doors and light the path that others walk down,” she wrote in a tweet with photos attached featuring happier professional days. “I’ve taken some punches but that just means I’m still in the fight. Remember to lift as you climb and always KEEP RISING.”
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