(January 24, 2012)-Rachel Nichols who has been a fixture for ESPN since 2004 is departing the worldwide leader to take a position with CNN and Turner Sports. It was announced today that Nichols would begin her duties with CNN as early as next week as she will be covering the Super Bowl for the news channel.
In a statement released by CNN today it announced that Nichols would anchor a weekend sports program beginning later this year as well as cover all major sporting events for the network.
Nichols has held numerous duties with ESPN and of late has spent the majority of her time covering the NBA and NFL. Prior to joining ESPN she worked for the Fort-Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and the Washington Post.
Nichols released this statement today- “I couldn’t be more excited to join the CNN and Turner Sports family. I believe in Jeff’s [Jeff Zucker, CNN president] vision for CNN, and have always admired the great work of Turner Sports and what David [Levy, president, sales, distribution and sports, Turner Broadcasting System] has done there. I’m looking forward to getting started at the Super Bowl.”
Nichols however is also the latest in the string of high profile females who have decided to part ways with ESPN in the past year. Michelle Beadle left ESPN last spring for NBC and immediately jumped into the networks abundant coverage of the Summer Olympics. She also serves as a co-host on Access Hollywood and will be debuting her own sports show The Crossover on January 28. Beadle co-hosted SportsNation when she was with ESPN and though only with the network for three years quickly became a popular host.
Erin Andrews left ESPN last July after spending eight years with the network. Andrews was most notable for her coverage of college football and ESPN’s popular Saturday morning program College Gameday. Andrews departed last summer and immediately signed with FOX where she has so far covered college football, MLB and the NFL for them.
Almost lost in the shuffle of departures last year was Dana Jacobson who left last spring after spending over ten years at ESPN. Besides being a regular anchor on Sportscenter, Jacobson was also the longtime host of ESPN First Take. Jacobson is now a co-host for CBS Sports Radio.
Jacobson cited the desire to try something new in her reasoning for leaving ESPN. That may be true in her case but it is interesting to note that ESPN has let some of the most prominent female faces in sports television walk out their doors in the last 365 days.
It has been speculated that Andrews and Nichols were looking for further hosting opportunities within ESPN that apparently the network wasn’t willing to give them. ESPN may want to relook at how they negotiate their contracts in the future as they are quickly losing some very talented journalists.