We now know what’s subsequent for Rachel Nichols. Nichols was pulled from ESPN programming final August following a year-plus of reporting and dialogue over Nichols’ 2020 feedback on Maria Taylor in a telephone dialog that additionally wound up recorded on ESPN servers, the interior and exterior sharing of these feedback, ESPN’s personal actions within the wake of that (together with changing Nichols with Malika Andrews because the NBA Finals sideline reporter for ESPN/ABC) and extra. She formally left ESPN this January after reaching a settlement over the yr left on her contract, and he or she’s now landed with Showtime Basketball. Right here’s extra on that from a Showtime launch:
SHOWTIME Sports activities® pronounces veteran journalist, host and NBA analyst Rachel Nichols is becoming a member of SHOWTIME Basketball, the fast-rising content material vertical that options edgy, genuine and compelling content material from each nook of the game. As each a bunch and producer, Nichols will contribute to a number of packages and tasks from SHOWTIME Basketball throughout a number of platforms. The announcement comes as SHOWTIME Basketball’s profitable video podcast ALL THE SMOKE WITH MATT BARNES AND STEPHEN JACKSON drops a brand new, revealing interview, her first sit-down since her 2021 departure from ESPN, the place Nichols opens up about her journey in sports activities media and what has led to this subsequent chapter in her expansive 25-year profession.
Credited as one of many architects of right now’s NBA studio tv panorama, Nichols will contribute to SHOWTIME Basketball’s premium, award-winning storytelling as she bolsters a bunch that options Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, JR Smith and King of NBA Twitter Josiah Johnson.
“We’re delighted to welcome Rachel Nichols to the SHOWTIME Basketball household,” stated Brian Dailey, Senior Vice President, Sports activities Programming & Content material, Showtime Networks Inc. “Rachel brings unmatched journalistic credibility, nice familiarity with our roster and a piece ethic that may take us to a different degree.”
“I’ve been so lucky to dwell my dream job alongside among the greatest journalists within the enterprise for greater than 25 years, and this new improvement cope with SHOWTIME Sports activities offers me my most broad taking part in subject but,” stated Nichols. “They’ve requested me to supply, create and host new sports activities programming throughout platforms, working alongside Corridor of Famers, a number of guys with championship rings and an uber-creative crew behind the digicam. We’re going to have a lot enjoyable.”
Showtime shared Nichols‘ All The Smoke interview (she’s seen above throughout that) with AA prematurely of its publication. The complete interview is now out there:
To start out with, Nichols talks about becoming a member of Showtime: “I’m so thrilled. For 25 years, I’ve gotten to do what I like as a job, which can also be type of loopy in and of itself. And to have this subsequent step be with Showtime Sports activities, to get to work with loopy, cool, gifted individuals I like and respect each in entrance of and behind the digicam, I’m so excited to affix you guys.”
She then addresses her departure from ESPN:
“It began actually good a number of years in the past. We are able to return to 2019, three years in the past. ESPN gave me a brand new contract, I’d already been there with The Soar, and within the contract was that I used to be going to host the NBA Finals. And also you guys have recognized me for years, I’ve coated this sport for many years, the concept that I used to be going to host the NBA Finals, that was my dream job. That was going to be my first time doing it. It simply meant the world. I imply, I known as each govt concerned personally to thank them. I used to be simply so, so excited.”
“They put every little thing in writing within the contract, they put out a giant press launch about it. And one of many issues I requested for within the contract was that any pregame present I did can be a continuation of our each day present, The Soar. As a result of it was one thing we began collectively that I used to be so pleased with, and I simply additionally didn’t need any confusion. There’s loads of politics at ESPN. And I knew that the NBA Countdown job was nonetheless open, and I didn’t need anybody to assume that I used to be attempting to horn in on NBA Countdown. I needed to stick with The Soar, it was essential to me. And I believed that making that distinction would actually assist issues.”
“And Maria Taylor ended up getting the NBA Countdown job. I actually needed to make an effort to welcome her, to open my door to her. I despatched her flowers after I obtained the job as a result of I used to be actually, actually pleased for her.”
Jackson then asks “What modified on the way you felt within the office?” Nichols says “Issues obtained sophisticated later that season. You all know, it was 2020. We had a pandemic. There was the tragic homicide of your good friend, George Floyd. There have been loads of tough conversations with this nation wanting itself within the face and seeing what needed to change, what needed to be totally different. And The New York Occasions did an expose in July of 2020 on racism at ESPN and the shortage of alternatives for individuals of coloration. And the executives at ESPN stated, I feel, about what individuals would count on, ‘We’d like to present individuals extra alternatives, we’re persevering with to develop,’ all of these issues.”
“Round that very same time, I obtained a telephone name asking me would I step apart for Maria to host the NBA Finals and have me return to being a sideline reporter. They harassed it was my selection, they weren’t telling me to do that, as a result of it was in my contract. However they had been placing loads of strain on me. I used to be being advised ‘Properly, you’re not a crew participant.’ Which any girl in enterprise is aware of is code, proper? Ladies are speculated to be kumbaya, and crew gamers, and useful, and males are aggressive sharks, and all that? I simply felt like ‘Hey, I labored so lengthy, a long time for this job. I’ve carried out every little thing that was requested. We placed on some nice exhibits main as much as the playoffs. And I needed an opportunity to do it.”
Nichols then goes via dialogue of leaving for the bubble and the brand new gear she was utilizing there, which is what led to her name being recorded and transmitted to ESPN headquarters (the place it was ultimately shared internally after which leaked externally).
“I didn’t know that should you go away a selected app working within the background that the road from my resort room, wanting into my resort room, to Bristol, would keep open. So I believed I used to be carried out for the day. I did the stuff you would do in your first day in a resort room, I spent hours unpacking, known as my husband, talked to my youngsters, known as some associates, talked to my physician.”
“Sadly, that whole time, no one again at ESPN advised me there was an open line to my resort room and anybody who appeared on the feed may see me. Nobody shut it off, determined ‘Oh, she clearly doesn’t know she’s being watched unpacking, doing all these different issues.’ And at the very least one particular person determined to only sit and watch and begin spying on me like I used to be their very own private tv present. And once they heard one thing they thought was juicy, they picked up their cellphone and so they began recording my dialog.”
The complete interview with Nichols is price a watch when that episode is printed. However that above dialogue of her private context for these remarks is especially notable. A lot of this had been on the market in some kind or vogue; for instance, there was loads of reporting on Nichols’ contract specifying her NBA Finals internet hosting function, and ESPN selling that publicly when she signed that contract. However her specific on-the-record dialogue of it’s new.
And it’s definitely priceless to have Nichols’ on-the-record perspective there. Viewers can issue that into the broader evaluation of what she stated, the way it was seen (specifically, it’s important that she is admitting to her personal error in leaving the app working, which ought to without end shut the door on the “hacking” criticisms some individuals floated, however does nonetheless elevate the questions she cites in regards to the ESPN worker’s resolution to observe and file it), the way it was perceived, and what it led to.
Nichols’ feedback right here don’t make her immune from criticism for what she stated, however they do illustrate her aspect of that controversy in a extra on-the-record method than what we’ve seen to this point. And viewers can nonetheless come to their very own conclusions on her, on Taylor, and on ESPN’s dealing with of the entire state of affairs. However no matter the place they land on that, Nichols’ on-the-record feedback on it ought to be thought of.
As for her new job, the Showtime Basketball model consists of all kinds of content material. That features video podcasts like All The Smoke via documentaries like Kevin Garnett: Something Is Doable, Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story, Shut Up And Dribble, NYC Level Gods and extra.
The documentaries principally air on Showtime, each on linear and on its standalone streaming service (which is newly doable to bundle with company sibling Paramount+), whereas lots of the podcasts can be found without spending a dime on the Showtime Basketball YouTube channel and elsewhere. It is going to be fascinating to see simply what Nichols does with Showtime Basketball And it is going to be fascinating to see what reception she will get from the NBA world now that she’s taken this new function.[Showtime Basketball on YouTube]