ESPN’s cavalcade of reporting stars is shrinking quicker than the Falcons lead over the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.

Rachel Nichols is leaving ESPN for a competing set of non-alphabetical letters.

The reporter, who spent nine years with the all-sports cable channel, is joining CNN and Turner Sports and will waste no time getting started, with her first assignment covering a little thing called the Super Bowl. Perhaps you've heard of it?

Nichols, who did mostly field reporting for ESPN, will host a weekend sports show on CNN, although it’s unclear when that Ted Turner and his minions will unleash it. She’s also expected to cover the NBA, Major League Baseball and the Olympics, which will certainly help all those people who tune into CNN for their coverage of sports. All three of them.

The decision to bring in Nichols goes in step with CNN's diabolical plan for getting people to, you know, watch the channel. New CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker said, "We're just thrilled that a sports journalist of Rachel's stature and expertise will now be a regular part of the CNN lineup. Her arrival, beginning next week, is an important step in expanding the range of programming and storytelling on CNN."

Translation: Sanjay Gupta may soon be looking at some competition for air time.

Nichols is the latest high-profile female reporter to bolt ESPN. Last year, Erin Andrews hightailed it out of Bristol for Fox where she hosts a college football studio show and works as a sideline reporter for other events, as well, including the NFL playoffs.

First, Erin, then Rachel. All we can say is NBC had better not even think of trying to woo the national treasure that is Linda Cohn.

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