The sportscaster’s new duties at ESPN will include a daily weekday program centered on the NBA, as well as guest-hosting duties for the Disney-controlled sports network’s “Outside the Lines.” She will also contribute to both “E:60,” ESPN’s primetime magazine program and to the network’s near-ubiquitous “SportsCenter.” Her new program, “The Jump,” will debut Thursday, Feb. 18, when NBA games resume following the All-Star break.
Nichols’ departure from CNN after about two years raised eyebrows. Nichols has made a name for herself in TV sports, yet she wasn’t getting the spotlight many anticipated for her when CNN hired her and gave her a weekly sports program that was often preempted for breaking stories and failed to gain much traction. She remains a force to be reckoned with and has tangled with everyone from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to boxer Floyd Mayweather.
Nichols’ new program will air on ESPN at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Monday through Friday. The half-hour show will originate from ESPN’s Los Angeles studios and will include regular appearances by current and former NBA players, as well as ESPN analysts, reporters and insiders. The show will be produced by ESPN senior coordinating producer Kevin Wildes and coordinating producer Richelle Markazene.
“We are so excited to get Rachel back at ESPN in an expanded role,” said Marie Donoghue, executive vice president of global strategy and original content at ESPN in a prepared statement. “Our mission in content development relies on smart, original voices like Rachel; her credibility, integrity and intelligence shine through in everything she does.”
Nichols originally worked at ESPN from 2004 to 2013 as a New York City-based reporter, a role that included major event coverage, breaking news and high-profile interviews. Nichols contributed largely to “SportsCenter, “NFL Countdown” and “Outside the Lines,” and was a recurring sideline reporter on “Monday Night Football.” In 2007, she became one of the original correspondents to launch E:60.
Nichols has also been a reporter for the Washington Post and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. A native of Potomac, Md., she received a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Northwestern University.