Behind the Mic: ESPN Brings Back Rachel Nichols, Re-Ups Kenny Mayne

Rachel Nichols is departing CNN/Turner Sports to return to ESPN to work as an anchor and reporter. According to SI’s Richard Deitsch, she is expected to anchor her own program, contribute to SportsCenter and other platforms including E:60, and work on issue-oriented journalism. She is expected to start at ESPN in early 2016.

Rachel_Nichols

Rachel Nichols

Nichols was hired by Time Warner in Jan. 2013. She covered NBA and Major League Baseball for TNT and TBS and major sports events including the Olympics and Super Bowl for CNN. Her studio show, Unguarded, was canceled in Oct. 2014 as part of larger cuts across CNN…

…The incomparable Kenny Mayne has reached a new, multi-year agreement to remain with the ESPN as a SportsCenter anchor. Mayne, who returned to the SportsCenter anchor desk in 2013 after a five-year absence and is well known for his offbeat style, dry humor and unique sayings, will continue as a guest anchor of the 1 a.m. ET edition of the program, which airs from ESPN’s Los Angeles studio and is hosted by Neil Everett and Stan Verrett. He also will continue to be part of SportsCenter on the Road at select events and will produce features for SportsCenter. In his new deal, he will expand his presence on SportsCenter as a featured contributor to the midnight ET edition of the program hosted by Scott Van Pelt from ESPN’s Bristol, Ct., studios.

Mayne joined ESPN in May, 1994, as an anchor on ESPN2, providing five-minute score and news reports, and as a feature reporter. He also served as the original host of ESPN2’s former auto racing programs rpm2day and rpm2night. He occasionally anchored SportsCenter until assuming that role fulltime in August 1997, and he remained in the position until 2008. From 2008–2011, he produced and starred in an original scripted series on ESPN.com titled Mayne Street, then in 2011, he shifted gears and debuted Kenny Mayne’s Wider World of Sports on ESPN.com. He also previously hosted ESPN’s horse racing coverage. Mayne has been a staple of ESPN’s “This is SportsCenter” commercials during the campaign’s 20-year run, appearing in more than 50 spots. Prior to joining ESPN, Mayne had served as a freelance reporter and field producer for the network from 1990-1994…

…Venerable CBS Sportscaster Ray Gandolf died on Wednesday at his home in Manhattan at the age of 85. After breaking into television news in the early 1960s, he started reporting sports scores and anchoring segments in 1974. In 1979 he became the first sportscaster for CBS News’ Sunday Morning. He left CBS to become the weekend sports anchor for ABC in the early 1980s, and beginning in 1986, was co-host of “Our World”, which used archival footage and interviews with people who had witnessed historical events to recreate the feel of a particular time. Gandolf retired in the early 1990s…

…Bode Miller, the most decorated U.S. Olympic skier in history, made his debut as an during NBC Sports’ coverage of the Audi Birds of Prey event in Beaver Creek, Colo., Dec. 4-6 on NBCSN. Lead play-by-play commentator Dan Hicks called the Audi Birds of Prey from Beaver Creek, alongside Bode Miller and former World Cup downhillers Steve Porino and Todd Brooker…

…Lisa Leslie, a 2015 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and four-time Olympic Gold medal winner, joined TNT’s “Inside the NBA” to fill in for Shaquille O’Neal with the cast of host Ernie Johnson and analysts Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith for its NBA doubleheader on Dec. 3…

…Altitude Sports has added Vic Lombardi to its on-air talent line-up, effective Jan. 1, 2016. His primary role at the network will be as the Studio Host for the Pre-Game, Halftime, and Post- Game coverage of the Denver Nuggets games. Additionally, he will also act as a studio host for the All Sports Summit Pro Football Edition and take part in some further original programming soon to be aired by Altitude Sports. Lombardi previously worked as a television & radio host in South Bend, Austin, Phoenix and most recently the Sports Anchor for Denver CBS4. Lombardi comes to Altitude Sports with more than 25 years of experience in the sports industry and is a 28-time Emmy award winner, 14 for Best Sports Anchor…

…Penn State head coach James Franklin joined FOX Sports broadcast at the Big Ten Championship game on Dec. 5. He joined host Rob Stone and analysts Matt Leinart and Dave Wannstedt on set in Indianapolis for FOX College Football Pregame, as well as at halftime and postgame coverage…

…Michele Tafoya will serve as the sideline reporter for her 200th NFL game (regular season and postseason games included) during NBC’s Sunday Night Football matchup between the New England Patriots and Houston Texans, Sunday marks the 27thPatriots game that Tafoya will work, tied with the Dallas Cowboys for the team she has covered most in her 12 seasons on the sidelines (2011-present with NBC, 2006-10 with ESPN, 2004-05 with ABC). Among Tafoya’s 200 NFL games: three Super Bowls, one NFL Divisional Playoff, six NFL Wild Card Playoffs, and 190 regular-season games. In all, her NFL regular season and postseason sideline reporting has taken her to 35 stadiums.

Subscribe and Get SVG Newsletters

  • SVG Insider (Tuesday - Friday)
  • SVG Digital Now (Monday)
  • SportSound (Monthly)
  • College (Monthly)
  • Venue Production (Monthly)