Sports TV News
Maria Taylor On Upcoming Documentary, Leaving ESPN, Career Ambitions
“I don’t want to talk about her,” Taylor said about Rachel Nichols.
In recent months, Maria Taylor’s move to NBC Sports has proven to be a significantly beneficial decision for her career. Since leaving ESPN in July, Taylor has hosted coverage of the 2021 Summer Olympics, Football Night in America during the NFL season, the 2022 Winter Olympics, and Super Bowl LVI.
Regardless of the circumstances under which she left ESPN and the role tensions with Rachel Nichols over hosting NBA Countdown, in addition to her contract negotiations, it’s difficult to imagine Taylor could receive a better showcase than she has in her short time with NBC.
Another aspect of Taylor’s career growth at NBC was revealed during Super Bowl pregame coverage with the announcement of an upcoming project that she’ll be working on with legendary producer Lorne Michaels for Peacock. The eight-part documentary series will chronicle the history of Black quarterbacks and is scheduled to air during Super Bowl week next year.
“Now, if you turn on your TV, it is not unusual to see a Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson — you know, insert whoever — they dominate the NFL,” Taylor told Vanity Fair‘s Joy Press. “But it wasn’t long ago that not only was it rare, but it didn’t happen… It was believed that maybe they weren’t intelligent enough or they lacked the leadership skills.”
The Peacock docuseries fulfills one of Taylor’s ambitions, to tell untold stories. Could she have had an opportunity to produce such a project at ESPN under the ESPN Films or E60 banners? For ESPN+, if not the network’s linear channels? We’ll never know. The Vanity Fair piece also mentions that Taylor is developing scripted series with the same goal in mind.
Naturally, Press also asked Taylor about the end of her time at ESPN and the circumstances that led to her departure. Those looking for Taylor to say something juicy about Nichols, perhaps clapping back against Nichols’ assertion that Taylor was named host of NBA Countdown during the NBA Finals because she’s Black, will be disappointed, however.
“I don’t want to talk about her,” Taylor said to Press when asked if she’s talked to Nichols since her comments were made public by the New York Times.
Yet Taylor didn’t criticize ESPN, instead expressing gratitude for what she learned there and the opportunities she received.
“Everything that I’ve learned since I graduated college, everything that I learned was there,” she said. “I was promoted, given my first opportunities; so many great things happened. So I could never say that.”
The entire Vanity Fair feature is worth reading, which includes Taylor’s thoughts on a key reason she wanted to work at NBC, how she’s enjoyed Olympics coverage because it places female athletes at the forefront, and the importance of being a role model.
Ian Casselberry is a sports media columnist for BSM. He has previously written and edited for Awful Announcing, The Comeback, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. You can find him on Twitter @iancass or reach him by email at email@example.com.
Sports TV News
New Episodes of Beyond Limits Coming to CBS Sports
The series, which first premiered in September 2021, is produced by the CBS Sports Race and Culture Unit, with senior producer Sarah M. Kazadi.
CBS Sports is set to premiere new episodes of its franchise Beyond Limits, which celebrates athletes who go beyond the implicit boundaries of sports and society. Three half-hour episodes will be hosted by CBS Sports reporter AJ Ross, and will also air on CBS’ linear channel and stream live on Paramount+.
The first episode of the season is titled “Who I Am,” and it will feature Byron Perkins, who is the first openly gay football player at a historically black college or university (HBCU). Perkins is a redshirt senior at Hampton University. The show will also discuss the relationship he has with his mother and how she has impacted him both as a person and an athlete.
Two more episodes will premiere throughout the season – one on making sports adaptable and accessible; and the other featuring athletes who have moved into executive roles. The latter show includes interviews with NBA Executive Vice President and Head of Basketball Operations, Joe Dumars; New Orleans Pelicans Vice President of Basketball Operations and Team Development, Swin Cash; and NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Troy Vincent.
The series, which first premiered in September 2021, is produced by the CBS Sports Race and Culture Unit, with senior producer Sarah M. Kazadi. Its first episode premieres on Sunday, June 11 at 1:30 p.m. EST/10:30 a.m. PST, and should provide fans with unique storytelling and spotlight into the journeys of various key figures in sports and media alike.
Sports TV News
ESPN Colleagues Pay Tribute to Neil Everett
“It was universal praise from the people that knew and worked with Everett.”
Neil Everett has become one of the faces of SportsCenter. After 23 years at ESPN, he announced that he is leaving the network.
Colleagues at the World Wide Leader took to Twitter to share their thoughts. It was universal praise from the people that knew and worked with Everett. Chief among them was his SportsCenter partner of fourteen years, Stan Verrett.
If Root Sports Northwest requires references, there are plenty ESPN colleagues past and present that were immediately ready to vouch for Neil Everett.
Everett was not laid off. He turned down a new contract that would have forced him to take a pay cut.
The Walt Disney Company is in the middle of layoffs effecting every division. CEO Bob Iger has tasked his leaders with reducing costs by $5.5 billion and cutting 7000 jobs.
Sports TV News
Bleav To Launch 2 FuboTV Channels
“Over 1,000 hours of original content is produced by Bleav each month.”
Sports and entertainment media production company Bleav has officially launched two channels available now on FuboTV.
Bleav Sports and Bleav Football will utilize content from its podcast network to comprise programming on the TV side.
“We are excited to be partnering with Fubo, one of the premiere companies for sports streaming,” Bleav president Eric Weinberger said.
Over 1,000 hours of original content is produced by Bleav each month. Former NFL and NBA standouts like Ahman Green, Rudy Gay, Lamar Odom, LenDale White, Ike Taylor and Jonathan Stewart are just some of the hosts for Bleav.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.