Former ESPN Host Lands Role at Showtime

A former ESPN host has landed a new job. On Friday, Showtime announced that Rachel Nichols is joining Showtime Basketball. Nichols will serve as a host and producer for Showtime Basketball, which will produce shows, video and audio podcasts, and documentaries. The announcement comes as Showtime Basketball's video podcast All the Smoke with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson dropped an interview with Nichols who left ESPN in January. 

"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 in a statement. "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."  Along with All the Smoke, Showtime Basketball produces Kevin Garnett: Anything Is Possible, and SpringHill's Shut Up and Dribble. Talent contributing to the vertical includes, Garnett, Paul Pierce, J.R. Smith and Josiah Johnson. 

"We are delighted to welcome Rachel Nicholes to the Showtime Basketball family," Brian Dailey, Senior Vice President, Sports Programming & Content, Showtime Sports, said in a statement. "Rachel brings unmatched journalistic credibility, great familiarity with our roster and a work ethic that will take us to another level."

Nichols began her career at ESPN in 2004. She was the host of the NBA program The Jump in from its inception in 2016 and was on the show until 2021. She left ESPN in January after comments she had made in a private phone call about Maria Taylor were made public in a New York Times article. She was speaking to Adam Mendelsohn, an adviser to Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and James' agent, Rich Paul about Taylor hosting NBA Countdown, ESPN's pregame and postgame show, during the NBA Finals.

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"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. "Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away. I just want them [ESPN] to go somewhere else — it's in my contract, by the way; this job is in my contract in writing." Nichols apologized for the comments and was removed from ESPN's NBA coverage, and Taylor is now working for NBC as the host of Sunday Night Football.