Former ESPN Host Rachel Nichols Joins Showtime Basketball

The veteran journalist’s move follows her controversial 2021 exit from the Disney-owned network

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Longtime sports journalist and broadcaster Rachel Nichols will join Showtime Basketball as a show host and producer, contributing to multiple platforms, programs and projects, the network said Friday.

“We are delighted to welcome Rachel Nichols to the Showtime Basketball family,” said Brian Dailey, senior VP of sports programming and content for Showtime. “Rachel brings unmatched journalistic credibility, great familiarity with our roster and a work ethic that will take us to another level.”

Nichols will contribute to Showtime Basketball’s premium, award-winning storytelling as she bolsters a group that features Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, JR Smith and King of NBA Twitter Josiah Johnson.

“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. “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’ first sit-down interview since her departure from ESPN will air on Friday’s episode of “All the Smoke with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson.” That program will be available noon PT on the Showtime Basketball YouTube Channel.

ESPN said it would remove Nichols from its programming in August 2021. In a 2020 leaked phone conversation, the former ESPN host expressed frustration that her former colleague Maria Taylor was chosen over her to host “NBA Countdown” during the NBA Finals, suggesting that the decision was made because the network was “feeling pressure” on diversity.

Nichols later apologized to Taylor on her daily program “The Jump,” which was eventually replaced by “NBA Today” with host Malika Andrews. She began saying she didn’t want to make herself the story, but she also wanted to address the elephant in the room.

“But I also don’t want to let this moment pass without saying how much I respect, how much I value our colleagues here at ESPN,” Nichols said. “How deeply, deeply sorry I am for disappointing those I hurt, particularly Maria Taylor, and how grateful I am to be a part of this team.”

The Emmy-Award winning journalist is known most broadly for her work in creating and hosting the daily NBA program “The Jump” on ESPN from its inception in 2016 to 2021. She has been covering sports for more than 25 years, including multiple Super Bowls, World Series, Stanley Cup Finals, Olympic Games and tennis and golf majors. Nichols spent nearly a decade writing for The Washington Post’s award-winning sports section covering the NHL, NBA, MLB, tennis and the Olympics.

Nichols’ upcoming interview will detail her journey in sports media and what has led to this next chapter in her 25-year career.