×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Boris Epshteyn Talks Sinclair Move, ‘Serious’ Journalism and ‘Hysteria’ Around Trump

Boris Epshteyn was a ubiquitous presence on cable news during the 2016 presidential race, articulating the vision and values of the Trump campaign in his role as a top communications aide. After a brief and by multiple accounts rocky few months in the White House, Epshteyn moved in April to an on-air role as a chief political analyst for Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Epshteyn’s presence in some of the daily newscasts produced by Sinclair’s 170-plus stations around the country has given Sinclair critics more ammo to assert that the powerhouse station group is bent on putting a conservative tilt on its coverage and currying political favor with the administration.

A survey of Epshteyn’s two-minute “Bottom Line with Boris” segments to date (he made his Sinclair debut in June) finds nary a harsh word for President Donald Trump. Epshteyn maintains his segments are clearly flagged as commentary and analysis. He sees his role as providing information and insight into the inner-workings of Washington to those far outside the Beltway.

“Are we focusing on the hysteria around President Trump? No, there’s plenty of other coverage of that,” Epshteyn told Variety. “We’re talking about the issues that hit home to the viewers, such as the (Veterans Administration), trade policy, tax reform and, of course, healthcare.”

Sinclair’s strength as the nation’s largest broadcast group is the company’s presence across the country into markets large and small. That reach is poised to grow considerably if its $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media is approved by federal regulators.

The power of the local TV platform, which covers a wider swath of viewers than the typical cable news audience, was the draw for Epshteyn. He’s enjoying settling into his role as a commentator — one that plenty of political operatives on the left and right have made in the past. Before working for Trump, Epshteyn worked for the 2008 McCain-Palin presidential campaign and has been involved in Republican politics. He’s also worked as an investment banker.

“Sinclair is a great company that has a very wide reach and the ability to deliver news and information to so many people,” he said. “This job is a great opportunity for me to talk about things that matter to me and, more importantly, the viewers.”

Much was made of the recent news that Sinclair was upping the volume of his “Bottom Line” segments to nine times a week, but Epshteyn said that was always the plan once he got up and running. He intends to conduct interviews with legislators and newsmakers to offer a mix of information and commentary.

Epshteyn also wants to make one thing clear. Despite the provocative suggestion in December from Trump administration special advisor Jared Kushner that Sinclair cut a deal with the Trump campaign for favorable coverage, there was no such arrangement known to Epshteyn.

“During the campaign, Inaugural and (in) the White House, no Sinclair station interview was ever seen as a lay-up,” Epshteyn said. “This is a serious journalistic organization with serious journalists.”

More TV

  • The Netflix logo is displayed at

    TV Roundup: Netflix Orders Ted Bundy Docu-Series

    In today’s TV roundup, Netflix has ordered a docu-series on serial killer Ted Bundy and “Love, Gilda” sets a premiere date on CNN FIRST LOOKS Variety has obtained an exclusive clip of “Into the Okavango,” the upcoming National Geographic film. Premiering Dec. 14 on Nat Geo, the film, six years in the making, follows a [...]

  • Amy Poehler Is Ready for a

    Amy Poehler Is Ready for a 'Parks and Rec' Reunion

    Is Amy Poehler just getting our hopes up? We hope not, because the funny lady tells Variety that she’s ready for a “Parks and Recreation” reunion. “I am technically available,” Poehler said on Monday at Smart Girls’ 10th anniversary celebration dinner. “I have like six of Leslie’s blazers in my closet, so anytime.” “Parks and Recreation” [...]

  • Liz Meriwether Lake Bell

    Lake Bell, Liz Meriwether Comedy 'Bless This Mess' Moves From Fox to ABC With Series Order

    “Bless This Mess,” the single-camera comedy co-created by Lake Bell and Elizabeth Meriwether, has been ordered to series at ABC, Variety has learned. The series had previously been in contention at Fox and is a co-production between 20th Century Fox Television and ABC Studios. Bell also stars in the series alongside Dax Shepard. In the series, a [...]

  • 'Get Shorty' Renewed for Season 3

    'Get Shorty' Renewed for Season 3 at Epix

    Epix has renewed “Get Shorty” for Season 3. The loose adaptation of the 1990 Elmore Leonard novel and subsequent film stars Chris O’Dowd, Ray Romano, Lidio Porto, Megan Stevenson, Sean Bridgers, and Carolyn Dodd. In the series, O’Dowd plays a hitman from Nevada who struggles to shed his criminal past after he moves to Hollywood to [...]

  • Goliath Season 2 Amazon

    Amazon Renews 'Goliath' for Season 3

    Amazon has renewed legal drama “Goliath” for a third season. “Goliath” centers on washed-up lawyer Billy McBride, played by Billy Bob Thornton, who has one shot at redemption after a client he successfully defended from a murder charge went on to slaughter a family. Thornton won a Golden Globe for his performance in 2017. “Our [...]

  • Selena Quintanilla

    Selena Quintanilla Scripted Series Gets Greenlight at Netflix

    Netflix has ordered a scripted drama series based on the life of Tejano music star Selena Quintanilla. The series is described as a coming of age story following Selena as her dreams come true and all the heart-wrenching and life-changing choices she and her family have to make as they navigate success, family, and music. “Selena [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content