Sportscaster Maria Taylor has a new job. Days after her departure from ESPN, Taylor has officially joined NBC. The 34-year-old made her debut on the network Friday (July 23) during a primetime replay of the Opening Ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics.
Another former ESPN employee, Mike Tirico, introduced the rising star reporter and host at the beginning of the broadcast. “Thank you so much, Mike,” Taylor said. “It’s an honor to be a part of this team and the Olympic legacy.” She also shared a video of her introduction on Twitter, calling it an “Olympic dream come true.”
NBC announced that Taylor will work as a correspondent during the Tokyo Games and alongside Tirico to host the late-night Olympic recap show “Prime Plus.” She’s also slated to host and contribute to NBC’s Sunday NFL pregame show “Football Night in America” plus the network’s Super Bowl coverage.
“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 in a statement. “And I plan to pay it forward.”
NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua also commented on the network’s new hire. “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,” he said.
Rumors of the former University of Georgia two-sport athlete leaving ESPN over contract disputes began to surface weeks ago amid a whirlwind of controversy. An internal feud involving Taylor and her colleague Rachel Nichols was revealed in a New York Times article that exposed leaked audio of Nichols suggesting that Taylor was handed her job as “NBA Countdown” host during the 2020 Finals because of a diversity effort by ESPN. Nichols apologized to Taylor during a segment on her show “The Jump,” however Taylor never responded publicly.