Rachel Nichols Joins Showtime Basketball in Multi-Platform Role After 2021 ESPN Exit

Adam WellsSeptember 30, 2022

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 28: ESPN Host Rachel Nichols goes on camera after the Phoenix Suns game against the LA Clippers during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 28, 2021 at Phoenix Suns Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)
Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

Former ESPN host and sideline reporter Rachel Nichols has been hired by Showtime Basketball.

Per an official release, Nichols will serve as host and producer for multiple programs and projects for Showtime Basketball on various platforms.

Rachel Nichols @Rachel__Nichols

Thrilled to be partnering with <a href="https://twitter.com/Showtime?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Showtime</a> and getting back to celebrating what we love most about sports.<br>We're gonna have so. much. fun. <a href="https://t.co/4NDmLhF4Dl">pic.twitter.com/4NDmLhF4Dl</a>

The new venture marks Nichols' first gig since her departure from ESPN. The network canceled The Jump, which launched in 2016 and was hosted by Nichols, in August 2021 and removed her from its NBA coverage.

Kevin Draper of the New York Times reported in June 2021 on audio from a recorded phone call in 2020 between Nichols and Adam Mendelsohn, an advisor to LeBron James, in which she indicated Maria Taylor was given a job hosting ESPN's pregame and postgame coverage of the NBA Finals because she is Black.

"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 in the audio, per Draper. "Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away."

Taylor left ESPN in July 2021 and began working as an on-air host for NBC Sports.

Per Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, Nichols and ESPN agreed to a settlement in January that also allowed her to pursue other opportunities.

Showtime has been building its basketball coverage. The network is the streaming home for the All the Smoke podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. It has also produced several documentaries about some of the sport's biggest stars, including Kobe Bryant's Muse, One & Done/Ben Simmons, The Resurgence: DeMarcus Cousins and Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story.

Nichols will appear on the All The Smoke podcast to discuss her time with ESPN, including her exit from the company, and stories throughout her career in sports journalism.