Last month, Maria Taylor left ESPN, weeks after a narrative revealed by the New York Times detailed behind the scenes strife at ESPN’s NBA protection, associated to feedback Rachel Nichols made about Taylor in her resort room with a video camera running. Nichols apologized to Taylor on the air, however that didn’t appear to assist very a lot – an episode of The Jump was cancelled, Nichols was pulled from sideline reporting on the NBA Finals, and Taylor nonetheless left the corporate for a job with NBC.
Now, ESPN is happening with out Nichols as a part of their NBA protection. Per the Sports Business Journal, the Nichols-hosted present The Jump will probably be cancelled, and she or he will probably be eliminated from all of ESPN’s NBA protection. Notably, Nichols is nonetheless beneath contract (for an additional year-plus), and isn’t anticipated to be on the air in *any* capability.
ESPN has taken Rachel Nichols off of all NBA programming and can cancel her weekday afternoon present “The Jump,” the community confirmed at the moment. Nichols was informed of the strikes this week, sources mentioned. Nichols stays beneath contract with ESPN — a contract that has greater than a 12 months remaining. However, it is unlikely that she is going to seem on ESPN’s air throughout that point.
Two weeks ago, ESPN introduced that David Roberts would lead all NBA programming going ahead, and his first transfer was actually a decisive one.
The Jump, which is able to nonetheless be on the air with completely different hosts over the subsequent few weeks, will reportedly get replaced with a brand new NBA weekday present within the leadup to the 2021-22 season.
Roberts determined to cancel “The Jump,” which is able to run for just a few extra episodes over the subsequent couple of weeks — none of which will probably be hosted by Nichols. ESPN will launch a brand new afternoon NBA present within the lead-up to subsequent season, however execs had no agency particulars on that present’s format or host.
Yesterday, ESPN introduced (formally) that Max Kellerman could be leaving for First Take, and would even be internet hosting a brand new ESPN present. Could that be the rumored new NBA present, or will ESPN ax one thing else from their lineup to make room for each Kellerman’s present and the NBA present?
It’s considerably stunning how rapidly (and publicly) this all went down. We could make loads of educated guesses as to who will choose up display screen time following the departure of Taylor and the benching of Nichols. Malika Andrews (the sideline reporter for the NBA Finals) appears to be the most well-liked alternative, and Cassidy Hubbarth additionally looks like an excellent choice.
It’s price noting that NBA Countdown has seemingly been in a continuing state of retooling over the previous few years. Back in 2016, Michelle Beadle and Sage Steele shared internet hosting duties. Then Beadle took over on a full-time foundation in 2017. Then Nichols and Taylor shared internet hosting duties in 2019, with Beadle getting bought out. Now, Taylor’s gone, and Nichols is off the air. That’s an entire lot of transition for one present in 5 years, to not point out the entire analysts which have cycled out and in of the Countdown set.