Rachel Nichols basketball-journalism career has taken a new bounce.
The veteran sports reporter will join Showtime‘s Sports Division, where she will be working as both a producer and host on the vertical’s basketball content.
Brian Dailey (Senior Vice President of Sports Programming and Content for Showtime), said in a prepared statement, “We are thrilled to welcome Rachel Nichols into the Showtime Basketball Family.” “Rachel brings unparalleled journalistic credibility, great knowledge of our roster, and a work ethic which will take us to the next level,” said Brian Dailey.
Some of her baggage was also with her. After becoming g embroiled in a controversy , Nichols quit her former employer Walt Disney’s ESPN. A video of Nichols complaining about Maria Taylor, a colleague, was made public. The video led to internal protests and division within the sports media giant. ESPN removed Taylor and Nichols from their daily basketball show, “The Jump.”
For the first time, Nichols addressed the squabbles and their causes. Nichols spoke on “All The Smoke With Matt Barnes & Stephen Jackson,” a Showtime Basketball video podcast. She noted that the recording was made while she was in Florida, working on ESPN’s NBA coverage. Inadvertently, the line was opened to ESPN’s Bristol headquarters. She claimed that the line broadcast for several hours and that no one from ESPN informed her. Nichols stated that one person chose to sit down and spy on me like they had their own television show. “When they heard something that they thought was interesting, they grabbed their cell phones and started recording me,” Nichols said.
The issue was hosting duties for ESPN’s annual coverage on the NBA Finals. Nichols claims she was given these duties as part of her contract with the media outlet. Nichols claims that Taylor was given these responsibilities by ESPN executives and that Nichols pressured Nichols into giving them up. Hosting the Finals was a “dream”, she said, so she talked about the matter during phone calls while she was still in her hotel room.
“I am very sorry Maria Taylor was affected by this, as she is a fellow female in this industry.” Nichols says it wasn’t Taylor’s fault that this was happening. Nichols states that Taylor was not at fault for bringing her in and that she was upset by it. Nichols claims that she tried to set up a meeting with Taylor but was unsuccessful. Taylor now works for NBC Sports. She was recently named host of “Football Night in America.”
Showtime’s basketball-themed content includes feature-length documentaries and docuseries. LeBron James’ SpringHill Company, Kevin Durant’s 35 Ventures have produced some of these projects.
Nichols has a long association with basketball. Since its inception, ESPN’s daily NBA show “The Jump”, she has hosted it since 2016. Nearly a decade of her career was spent writing for The Washington Post. She covered the NHL and NBA, the MLB, tennis, and the Olympics. From 2013 to 2016, she was also a Turner Sports host, where she covered the NBA, NCAA men’s basketball tournament, and the MLB playoffs. Among other events. In 2004, her first assignment at ESPN was as a reporter for “E:60” and to “SportsCenter”.
As speculation ramps up about the next round in NBA TV rights, she joins Showtime, a Paramount Global company. After the 2024-2025 season , the league’s current contract will expire with ESPN and Warner Bros. Discovery. Business observers are speculative about Warner Bros. Discovery, which has been struggling with significant debt since its inception earlier this year will be keen to pay for what are likely to increase costs to keep the NBA within its control.