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Maria Taylor Heads To NBC Soon After ESPN Drama

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Maria Taylor and ESPN are getting a divorce — and she’s expected to end up with NBC and at the Olympics, The Post has learned.

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Taylor, 34, leaves ESPN just weeks later one year old private tape with leaked comments were reported by the New York Times in which fellow NBA host/reporter Rachel gave Nichols’ alleged ESPN Taylor the hosting order to make up for what Nichols described as the network’s “worthless old record on diversity.”
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For NBC, if a contract is completed, Taylor is expected to be part of the upcoming Olympic coverage starting in earnest on Friday.

Although several sources said Taylor is going to NBC, nothing is official yet. The top network spokesperson is in Japan for the Olympics and did not immediately return messages.

After The Post broke the news that ESPN and Taylor had not reached a new contract agreement, Jimmy Pitaro and Taylor, the network’s president, released a joint statement. Pitaro said: “There is no doubt that we will miss Maria”, adding: “While she chose to seize another opportunity, we are proud of the work we have done together.”

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Taylor said she was so grateful to Jimmy and all my amazing teammates. She did not elaborate on what awaits her.

If the NBC deal is done, she could also wait in the circle on the deck to host “Football Night in America,” when Mike Tirico moves to the full-time “Sunday Night” Football play-by-play position goes in the fall of 2022. It is not entirely certain that Taylor will replace Tirico, but it seems that it could be a possible fit. Taylor could also play a part in Notre Dame football this season.

Maria Taylor leaves ESPN for NBC.
Maria Taylor is likely to leave ESPN for NBC.
NBAE via Getty Images

The Times’ story of Nichols and Taylor’s plight came just two weeks before Taylor’s contract with ESPN was terminated on July 20. ESPN and Taylor signed a mini-agreement so she could finish the final on Tuesday.

Now, however, she’s expected to head to NBC and leave ESPN to replace her on “College Football GameDay,” the national championship sidelines, NCAA women’s host, and her NBA pregame work.

Sources said Nichols will not be considered to replace Taylor as host of the final.

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ESPN tried to keep Taylor and offered an increase from $1 million to about $3 million, according to sources.

Last year, ESPN made an offer that would have exceeded Taylor’s salary at nearly $5 million, but Taylor chose not to negotiate at the time.

With the pandemic, ESPN has mainly cut salaries, even though it just spent a lot to bring in Peyton and Eli Manning for 10 games a season on an alternate broadcast of “Monday Night Football”.

With NBC and Amazon planning to team up on Amazon Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football, when it starts in the fall of 2022, Taylor could be part of his exclusive broadcasts as a side reporter or host. No deal has been struck with Amazon, although sources say they like Taylor’s work.

After this year, when NBC has the Super Bowl, Tirico is expected to succeed Al Michaels as NBC’s premier NFL player. Michaels’ contract expires after he calls the Super Bowl and… he could possibly be Amazon’s chief announcer on his Thursday Night package.

Maria Taylor interviews Sloane Stephens at the 2019 US Open.
Maria Taylor interviews Sloane Stephens at the 2019 US Open.
Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz

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Meanwhile, Nichols was taken off the NBA Finals sidelines in the wake of the response to her comments, but continued to do her afternoon show “The Jump.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wondered why ESPN didn’t address the situation sooner?, while ESPN has defended its track record on diversity, including a memo from Pitaro to employees highlighting the company’s track record and stating that Taylor “deserved” her position in the finals.

Now Taylor is away from ESPN, while Nichols remains in a diminished role.

The post Maria Taylor Heads To NBC Soon After ESPN Drama appeared first on Notesradar.

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