Rachel Nichols leaves ESPN for CNN and her own weekend sports show


Sports is big business for cable networks. One of the huge cost of rising cable prices is the per subscriber charge for networks like ESPN. Time Warner is reportedly paying $7 billion to the Dodgers to start their regional sports network. The Lakers signed on with Time Warner Sports in 2011 and launched the Time Warner Sportsnet this season but it hasn’t been completely smooth sailing. In areas like New York and Los Angeles, subscribers are paying $2 to $3 more per month due to regional sports networks.

With the infusion of sports related channels and content, there’s a quest to find talent to fill all those available hours of programming with. Increasingly networks, both new and established, are raiding ESPN for their female talent. Michelle Beadle to NBC sports, Erin Andrews to Fox Sports and now Rachel Nichols to CNN.

Nichols will anchor a weekend sports program that will focus on personalities and life outside of the game -Hey that’s what I do here! CNN if you’re looking to add a west coast corespondent, I’m available. Nichols will also be a reporter for CNN and Turner Sports with her first assignment being next weekend’s Super Bowl in New Orleans.

CNN’s new chief, Jeff Zucker comes to the network from NBC and has a new vision on how news can be presented. He’s also aware of the opportunity the expansion of sports programming is presenting.

“As you know, I am committed to offering a more varied set of programs and reporting on CNN and a new sports beat is an important component of that. My hope is that our air increasingly reflects the broad range of interests that we all share.”

Change is in the air.