SPORTS

NBC Quickly Hires Maria Taylor After Her Departure From ESPN

Jul 24, 2021, 6:40 AM
Maria Taylor - ESPN...
ESPN College Gameday Analysts Maria Taylor and David Pollack discuss college gameday at Times Square on September 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

AP – Maria Taylor has joined NBC less than a week after her contract with ESPN expired.

NBC formally made the announcement during its primetime Olympic show Friday before a replay of the opening ceremony.

ESPN and Taylor announced Wednesday that they could not agree on a new contract. Her first assignment for NBC will be the Tokyo Olympics, where she will join Mike Tirico during the nightly 2 1/2 to 3 hours of “Prime Plus” coverage as well as serve as a correspondent.

NBC also said that Taylor will be a host and contributor for “Football Night in America” on Sundays during NFL season and will host the network’s coverage of this season’s Super Bowl.

“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,” NBC Sports chairman Pete Bevacqua said in a statement.

Taylor had been with ESPN since 2014 but her contract expired Tuesday. Her last assignment for the network was Tuesday night at the NBA Finals, where she was the pregame and postgame host for the network’s “NBA Countdown” show. Taylor had hosted “NBA Countdown” since 2019 as well as being a reporter for “College GameDay” and ABC “Saturday Night Football” since 2017.

Taylor said in a statement: “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.”

ESPN had been discussing a contract with Taylor for over a year but things reached a boiling point over the past month. Taylor rejected an extension last year and the two sides were far apart heading into the NBA Finals. Then came a report from The New York Times detailing comments colleague Rachel Nichols made about Taylor last year during the NBA’s restart in Florida.

Nichols, who is white, was introduced in September 2019 as the NBA Finals host but the network later decided to promote Taylor, who is Black.

Nichols said in an accidentally recorded phone call obtained by the Times: “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 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 apologized July 5 while hosting “The Jump.” She was slated to be the sideline reporter for the Finals, but was pulled off the assignment.

Sports

JAMAAL-WILLIAMS-PENEI-SEWELL-DETROIT-LIONS-GUESS-WHO...
Kyle Ireland

Instant Replay: Jamaal Williams, Penei Sewell Play Lions ‘Guess Who?’ Game

Local players and NFL teammates Jamaal Williams and Penei Sewell had fun playing against each other in a game of Detroit Lions "Guess Who?"
14 hours ago
Lauri-Markkanen-Utah-Jazz...
Ben Anderson

Jazz Host Hawks, Look For Third Straight Win

The Utah Jazz will look for their third straight win when they host the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night at Vivint Arena.
14 hours ago
Michael Jordan and forward Karl Malone Credit: Jonathan Daniel /Allsport...
Chandler Holt

This Day In Utah Sports History: Malone Dunks On Jordan

On this day 31 years ago, Karl Malone got the Delta Center bouncing after running the break and dunking on Michael Jordan. 
14 hours ago
Russell-Westbrook-Lakers-Jazz-NBA...
Kyle Ireland

Report: Jazz, Lakers Hold ‘Exploratory’ Trade Conversations On Russell Westbrook

The Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers discussed a potential Russell Westbrook trade described as "exploratory conversations" by Chris Haynes.
14 hours ago
Damian-Lillard-NBA-All-Star...
Kyle Ireland

Report: Damian Lillard To Compete In Three-Point Contest During 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend

Former Weber State and NBA star Damian Lillard reportedly plans to compete in the 2023 PepsiCo 3-Point Contest during All-Star Weekend.
14 hours ago
Derek-Carr-Las-Vegas-Raiders-Los-Angeles-Rams-NFL...
Mark Anderson, AP

Derek Carr Says He Won’t Extend Deadline To Assist Raiders Trade

Derek Carr said Thursday night he will not extend the Feb. 15 deadline to help facilitate a trade from the Las Vegas Raiders.
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.
Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...
KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.
Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.
ksl sports logos...
KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.
jimmy-buffett-tour-art...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.
Iron Maiden tour...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden returns to Utah in 2022 with The Legacy of the Beast tour.
NBC Quickly Hires Maria Taylor After Her Departure From ESPN