ESPN just canceled a popular daily show. According to TV Line, ESPN is taking The Jump off the air and removing host Rachel Nichols from its NBA coverage. This comes after controversial comments made by Nichols about former ESPN employee Maria Taylor from last year leaked to the New York Times in July.
Nichols confirmed the news on Twitter. “Got to create a whole show and spend five years hanging out with some of my favorite people talking about one my favorite things,” Nichols wrote. “An eternal thank you to our amazing producers & crew – The Jump was never built to last forever but it sure was fun. More to come…”
“We mutually agreed that this approach regarding our NBA coverage was best for all concerned,” David Roberts, senior vice president for NBA production at ESPN, said in a statement to Variety. “Rachel is an excellent reporter, host and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content.” ESPN is expected to honor the remainder of Nichols’s contract but her future assignments have yet to be determined.
The controversy surrounding Nichols started when audio of a private phone call leaked to the New York Times which featured the reporter being angry that Taylor was selected to hosting NBA Countdown for the playoffs. During the call, Nichols alluded to Taylor being promoted because she is Black.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball,” Nichols said in July 2020. “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. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away.” Later in July, Taylor announced she’s leaving ESPN for NBC.
“So thankful to Jimmy [Pitaro] and all of my great teammates and friends at the SEC Network, College GameDay, Women’s and Men’s college basketball, and the NBA Countdown family — the people who believed in me, encouraged me, pushed me, and lifted me up,” Taylor said in a statement. “Words are inadequate to express my boundless appreciation, and I hope to make them proud.”