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ESPN's Rachel Nichols jumps to CNN, Turner Sports

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January 24, 2013 08:38 PM EST | AP

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LOS ANGELES — ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols is leaving to work for CNN and Turner Sports.

The companies announced Thursday that Nichols will anchor a new weekend CNN sports program beginning later this year, and will report on a wide range of sports.

Nichols' hiring comes as new CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker puts his stamp on the struggling U.S. news channel, which he's promised to make more "vibrant and exciting."

Nichols will be an important part of expanding CNN's programming, the former NBC Universal chief said Thursday.

Nichols, who worked at ESPN for nine years, said she "couldn't be more excited" about working for CNN and Turner Sports. Both are divisions of Turner Broadcasting System Inc.

Her first assignment will be the Feb. 3 Super Bowl in New Orleans.