New York Post
Taylor to NBC is a done deal
Maria Taylor and ESPN are divorcing — and she is headed to NBC and will cover the Olympics, The Post has learned.
Taylor, 34, leaves ESPN just weeks after the existence of a year-old private recording of leaked comments was 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, Taylor is expected to be part of its forthcoming Olympic coverage that begins in earnest Friday.
After The Post broke the news of ESPN and Taylor’s failure to reach a new contract agreement, network chairman Jimmy Pitaro and Taylor released a joint statement. Pitaro said, “there is no doubt we will miss Maria,” adding, “While she chose to pursue a new opportunity, we are proud of the work we’ve done together.”
Taylor said she was “so thankful to Jimmy and all of my great teammates.”
With NBC, Taylor also could be waiting in the on-deck circle to become the host of “Football Night in America,” when Mike Tirico moves to the full-time “Sunday Night Football” play-byplay position in the fall of 2022. It is not fully set that Taylor will replace Tirico, but it could be a potential fit. Taylor could also have a role on Notre Dame football this season.
The Times’ story on Nichols and Taylor’s situation came just two weeks before Taylor’s contract concluded with ESPN on Tuesday. ESPN and Taylor made a mini-agreement so she could finish out the Finals.
Now, though, she is headed to NBC, leaving ESPN to replace her on “College Football GameDay,” the national championship sideline, NCAA women’s host and her NBA pregame work.
Sources said Nichols will not be considered to replace Taylor as the Finals host.
ESPN tried to keep Taylor, offering a raise from $1 million to the neighborhood of $3 million, according to sources.