Y’all been following this Maria Taylor story?
She was reportedly asking for “Stephen A Smith” money at ESPN, according to reports. Then Rachel Nichols was caught on tape more or less saying that she didn’t want to lose her job to Taylor because of diversity reasons. That resulted in ESPN pulling Nichols from her NBA Finals sideline gig and inserting Malika Andrews instead.
After all of that, Taylor and ESPN apparently could not reach an agreement on a new contract, and Andrew Marchand at The New York Post says she’s probably going to NBC instead:
Maria Taylor and ESPN are divorcing – and she is expected to end up with NBC and at the Olympics, The Post has learned.
Taylor, 34, leaves ESPN just weeks after a year-old private tape of leaked comments were reported by the New York Times in which fellow NBA host/reporter Rachel Nichols’ alleged ESPN gave Taylor the Finals hosting job to make up for what Nichols described as the network’s “crappy longtime record on diversity.”
For NBC, if a contract is completed, Taylor is expected to be part of its forthcoming Olympic coverage that begins in earnest on Friday.
Taylor did a variety of things at ESPN. She was involved in their NBA coverage and also worked as the roving reporter/field host for College Gameday. She did college football gigs throughout the season and was part of the network’s women’s basketball coverage as well. Sort of a jack-of-all-trades over there, Maria Taylor.
There won’t be a shortage of things for her to do at NBC, if she does make the move. Marchand notes that Mike Tirico is moving to a full-time PBP role for Sunday Night Football next year. She could host Football Night in America. There’s Notre Dame football in the NBC portfolio as well, and Taylor obviously has a ton of college ball experience.
Fascinating story, though. Taylor is seen as a rising star in the business, just 34 years old. She has credibility as a two-sport college athlete and is the type of talent ESPN would traditionally commit to. Guess it just didn’t work out, eh?
Update: confirmed –
ESPN & @MariaTaylor jointly announced today that after much discussion, an agreement on a contract extension could not be reached
As a result, her last assignment for ESPN was last night's NBA Finals telecast
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) July 21, 2021