Maria Taylor joins NBC after exit from ESPN

Sports journalist Maria Taylor has joined NBC nearly a week after her contract with ESPN ended, resulting in a highly publicized exit from the network.

NBC announced the move on Friday during its prime-time Olympic show.

Taylor is set to host “Football Night in America” during the NFL season and will cover the Super Bowl for the network. Her first assignment will be serving as a correspondent and joining Mike Tirico for nightly coverage of the Tokyo Olympics, NBC said in a release.

“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. And I plan to pay it forward,” Taylor said in a statement.

NBC Sports chairman Pete Bevacqua also welcomed Taylor to the company, saying that she will be “a powerful addition.”

“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.

ESPN and Taylor jointly announced on Wednesday that the reporter and host would be departing from the company after they failed to come to an agreement on a contract extension.

Taylor had worked at ESPN since 2014 but her contract expired Tuesday after over a year of discussion. Taylor reportedly rejected an extension last year.

The journalist faced controversy earlier this year after a report by The New York Times revealed remarks Rachel Nichols, a colleague, made about her in 2019.

“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball. If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity — which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it — like, go for it. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away,” Nichols said in an accidentally recorded phone call obtained by the Times.

She later apologized but was removed from her assignment as a sideline reporter for the NBA Finals.

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