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ESPN Rumors

“We mutually agreed that this approach regarding our NBA coverage was best for all concerned,” ESPN Senior VP/Production David Roberts said in a statement emailed to SBJ. “Rachel is an excellent reporter, host and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content.” Roberts took over as the production exec overseeing ESPN’s NBA coverage two weeks ago, and this marks his first big move to reset how the network covers the NBA. Many more changes are coming, particularly on the studio side, sources said.
The move comes about a year after a private conversation that Nichols had with sports PR exec Adam Mendelsohn, when the NBA host complained that Maria Taylor was chosen to host “NBA Countdown” during the NBA Finals because of the color of her skin. Unbeknownst to Nichols, the comments were recorded and distributed among several ESPN employees. Details of the conversation and the subsequent fallout were reported by the N.Y. Times earlier this summer. Taylor has since left the network, agreeing to a deal with NBC Sports.
Storyline: ESPN Drama
ESPN launched “The Jump” in February ‘16 and found success with it. Nichols was nominated for a Sports Emmy as best host earlier this year. The show was nominated for a sports Emmy the year before. ESPN has made several on-air changes over the past several months. Just this week, it moved Max Kellerman off of “First Take” and will host his own weekday afternoon show on ESPN in the coming weeks.