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Rachel Nichols Lands New Basketball Role With Showtime

Rachel Nichols has joined Showtime Sports in a new multiplatform role, marking her first full-time foray back into basketball coverage since her departure from ESPN in 2021, the company announced Friday

Nichols will join Showtime’s basketball coverage as both a host and producer and will “contribute to multiple programs and projects across multiple platforms,” the network said in a release. 

“I’ve been so fortunate to live my dream job alongside some of the best journalists in the business for more than 25 years, and this new development deal with Showtime Sports gives me my most broad playing field yet,” Nichols said in a statement Friday. “They’ve asked me to produce, create and host new sports programming across platforms, working alongside Hall of Famers, multiple guys with championship rings and an uber-creative team behind the camera. We’re going to have so much fun.”

Nichols is best known for her work in creating and hosting ESPN’s The Jump from its inception in 2016 to ’21. While predominantly covering the NBA for ESPN, Nichols has covered a number of sporting events for more than 25 years in the industry, including multiple Super Bowls, the World Series and the Olympics.

Nichols agreed to a settlement with ESPN, which officially ended her tenure with the media organization, the New York Post reported in January of this year. The deal was agreed upon after The New York Times reported in July 2021 on a ’20 conversation between Nichols and media and athlete adviser Adam Mendelsohn, in which Nichols lamented ESPN reporter Maria Taylor’s increased NBA coverage at the network, claiming that Taylor was given that work in part due to the network’s “crappy longtime record on diversity.”

Taylor, who is Black, served as ESPN’s host for coverage of the 2020 NBA Finals, an assignment Nichols was reportedly expected to receive.

“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,” Nichols said. “Just find it somewhere else.”

Nichols later publicly apologized for her comments, but the network opted to remove her from NBA coverage before the 2021–22 season. ESPN then moved her off their NBA programming and canceled The Jump with one year remaining on her contract. 

The network replaced The Jump’s afternoon time slot with NBA Today, a whip-around studio show hosted by Malika Andrews.

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