Maria Taylor signs with NBC after parting ways with ESPN
She joins the network just in time for the Olympics, is expected to cover football and other sports for the network
On Wednesday, Maria Taylor announced that after eight years, she was not going to resign with ESPN. By Friday, the sports anchor had a new home —NBC.
NBC officially announced Taylor’s new home on Friday in a statement indicating that she would join the network’s coverage of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
In addition, Taylor will join other premiere NBC Sports properties, including Football Night in America as a host and contributor, future Super Bowls, and Prime Plus, which she will co-host with Mike Tirico. Taylor, 34, stated that she is “incredibly excited” to join the NBC Sports team.
“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,” Taylor said. “And I plan to pay it forward.”
As previously reported by theGrio, Taylor announced that her contract with ESPN had expired after the two parties could not reach an agreement for an extension. She reportedly turned down a $3M offer from the network during negotiations.
ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro praised Taylor’s “ability and work ethic” and that despite her departure, “we are proud of the work we’ve done together.” After eight years with the Worldwide Leader in Sports, ESPN‘s PR team tweeted that the NBA Finals was her last assignment with the company.
Taylor’s presence at the NBA Finals came with controversy. Per theGrio, the spotlight was flashed on Taylor after audio of fellow ESPN anchor Rachel Nichols leaked. In the ‘hot mic’ audio recorded from the NBA bubble last year, Nichols was heard complaining about Taylor being chosen to anchor the NBA Finals in place of her.
Nichols, in the conversation with LeBron James adviser Adam Mendelsohn, implied that it was the network’s way of improving diversity at her expense.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball,” Nichols said, “If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your 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.”
Nichols issued an apology to Taylor and ESPN during ESPN’s daily NBA talk show, The Jump, which she anchors. “The first thing they teach you in journalism school is don’t be the story, and I don’t plan to break that rule today or distract from a fantastic Finals,” Nichols said.
“But I also don’t want to let this moment pass without saying how much I respect, how much I value our colleagues at ESPN, how deeply, deeply sorry I am for disappointing those I hurt, particularly Maria Taylor, and how grateful I am to be part of this outstanding team.”
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