The worst-kept secret in sports media officially became Friday when NBC hired broadcaster and host Maria Taylor, the network announce.
Taylor, 34, made her first appearance during the NBC Opening Ceremony on Friday night’s Tokyo Olympics replay.
NBC said Taylor will be a host and contributor to Football Night in America and the Super Bowls. While at the Olympics in Tokyo, she will be joining Mike Terriko as the host of Prime Plus and will also work as a reporter.
“Incredibly excited to have the opportunity to work with Pete, Molly, Sam, Fred, and the entire NBC Sports family,” Taylor said in a statement. “Literally, hosting the Olympics, America’s Soccer Night and the Super Bowl is what I dreamed of when I started on TV – and that wouldn’t have been possible without standing on the shoulders of everyone who came before me and made this path possible, and I plan to push it forward.”
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Taylor’s contract with ESPN expired on Tuesday, the same day that ended up being her last assignment for the network: The Milwaukee Bucks play the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the NBA Finalsات. She reportedly refused to extend her contract last year to remain at ESPN, where she has been since 2014.
Taylor’s rise to ESPN has been rapid. She got her start on the SEC network covering college sports, which eventually led to the high-profile job to host “NBA Countdown” in 2019.
This gig is, in part, what eventually led to her leaving the network.
New York Times story published A July 6 article detailed a recording of a phone conversation between colleague Rachel Nichols and Adam Mendelson, a veteran advisor to Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.
Nichols praised Taylor in the leaked audio recording but was upset about being replaced by Taylor as host of “Countdown”, questioning Taylor’s standing at ESPN due to his spotty record on diversity and hiring practices.