Maria Taylor’s NBC career started with a surprise appearance from Tokyo before the rebroadcast of the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday evening in the United States.
Mike Tirico, the host for the opening ceremony, introduced Taylor as the newest NBC employee, before a video about the U.S. women’s gymnastics team played with narration from Taylor.
It has been a whirlwind few days for Taylor. On Tuesday, she hosted coverage of the N.B.A. finals in Milwaukee as an ESPN employee. On Wednesday, ESPN announced that it could not agree on a contract extension with her. On Friday, she was working for NBC at the Olympics.
Besides the Olympics, Taylor is expected to contribute to NBC’s broadcast of “Sunday Night Football” as well as other sports. She will be especially essential to NBC next February, when the Super Bowl takes place in Los Angeles during the middle of the Winter Games in Beijing. NBC has the rights to broadcast both events.
Taylor departed ESPN after a tumultuous year. One of her colleagues, Rachel Nichols, made disparaging comments about Taylor last July. In a conversation with an adviser to LeBron James that Nichols was unaware was being recorded, Nichols, who is white, said that she had lost the N.B.A. finals hosting duties to Taylor, who is Black, because ESPN executives were “feeling pressure” on diversity.
The comments, and the way ESPN executives handled them, contributed to long-running tension among employees who cover the N.B.A., and as soon as she had the opportunity, Taylor left for another television company.