Maria Taylor to Leave ESPN After Failing to Sign Contract Extension

Maria Taylor / ESPN

ESPN said Wednesday that it is parting ways NBA Countdown and NBA Finals host Maria Taylor after failing to come to terms on a contract extension. The news comes a day after what has turned out to be Taylor’s final assignment: covering the deciding Game 6 of the NBA Finals won by the Milwaukee Bucks.

“Maria’s remarkable success speaks directly to her abilities and work ethic,” said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content, in a memo today. “There is no doubt we will miss Maria, but we remain determined to continue to build a deep and skilled talent roster that thoroughly reflects the athletes we cover and the fans we serve. While she chose to pursue a new opportunity, we are proud of the work we’ve done together.”

Taylor had been the subject of leaked comments made by one of ESPN’s highest-profile female hosts, Rachel Nichols, who was worried about Taylor potentially assuming the Finals hosting role.

Because of a pandemic-shifted season, Taylor’s contract expiration date fell not in the NBA offseason, but in the heart of the Finals. That ESPN in a tough place, with the face of its coverage potentially leaving the network before the final Finals game, which would have been Thursday. The Bucks Game 6 series clincher last night saved the network that additional drama.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Deadline, Tom Tapp