Maria Taylor is joining NBC after her departure from ESPN, the New York Post reports. According to The Post, the sports journalist could start with NBC as soon as this Friday (July 23) contributing to the outlet’s Tokyo Olympics coverage.
As reported by REVOLT, Taylor left ESPN on Wednesday (July 21) after she and the company failed to reach an agreement on a contract extension.
“Maria’s remarkable success speaks directly to her abilities and work ethic. There is no doubt we will miss Maria, but we remain determined to continue to build a deep and skilled talent roster that thoroughly reflects the athletes we cover and the fans we serve,” ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro said in a statement. “While she chose to pursue a new opportunity, we are proud of the work we’ve done together.”
Taylor added, “So thankful to Jimmy [Pitaro] and all of my great teammates and friends at the SEC Network, ‘College GameDay,’ Women’s and Men’s college basketball and the ‘NBA Countdown’ family — the people who believed in me, encouraged me, pushed me and lifted me up. Words are inadequate to express my boundless appreciation and I hope to make them proud.”
Last week, Front Office Sports reported that Taylor was nearing a deal with NBC that could put her in the running as the next host of “Football Night in America.” Current host Mike Tirico will reportedly move into the full-time “Sunday Night Football” play-by-play position in the fall of 2022 freeing up the role.
News of Taylor’s departure from ESPN follows controversy at the outlet involving fellow reporter Rachel Nichols. As reported by REVOLT, Nichols was recorded complaining to LeBron James’ spokesperson Adam Mendelsohn about Taylor earning NBA Finals reporting duties over her last year. Nichols claimed Taylor only received the job because ESPN felt “pressure” to make up for their “crappy longtime record on diversity.”
After the audio was leaked, Nichols apologized for her comments and reporter Malika Andrews took over her NBA Finals sidelines reporting duties.