Sportscaster Maria Taylor has moved into a new role at NBC Sports, where she made her first appearance Friday during the network’s Olympics coverage. The move comes days after Taylor exited ESPN following controversy that erupted over remarks made about her by a fellow employee.
The popular sportscaster, who parted ways with ESPN earlier this week, appeared on camera Friday night during NBC Sports’ coverage of the Tokyo Olympics’ opening ceremonies, where she narrated a short feature on the U.S women’s gymnastics team.
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NBC Sports said Taylor will work across various NBC Sports properties, including as a host for “Football Night in America” and NBC’s coverage of Super Bowls. At the Tokyo Olympics, she will join Mike Tirico as a host for some late-night coverage, and will also work as a correspondent.
“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,” said Pete Bevacqua, chairman of NBC Sports, in a statement.
The move appears to set Taylor on a new course after her tenure at ESPN had become the object of public fascination. . In July of last year, basketball correspondent Rachel Nichols was caught on video speaking to representatives of LeBron James about ESPN’s decision to have Taylor host ESPN’s basketball report, “NBA Countdown,” during 2020’s NBA Finals. Her comments were recorded by a video camera she had left on and subsequently uploaded into ESPN’s system, where the footage was discovered and distributed by an employee. Nichols was frustrated that she hadn’t gotten the role, and suggested that ESPN’s interest in paying more attention to diversity was a factor in the decision. The matter boiled over after the New York Times reported that some employees who helped produce ESPN’s basketball coverage may have been choosing sides, and drew comments from Adam Silver, the NBA Commissioner.
As this all came to a head, Taylor’s contract with the Disney-owned sports-media giant was coming to an end. Her last on-air appearance for ESPN came Tuesday night during coverage of the last game of the NBA Finals.
The sportscaster seemed eager to put the recent past behind her. “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,” she said in a statement. “And I plan to pay it forward.”
Taylor played basketball and was a three-time All-SEC volleyball player while studying at the University of Georgia, She was also a member of the USA A2 National Volleyball team.
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