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

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

  • TV Writer Christopher Knopf, Former WGA

    TV Writer Christopher Knopf, Former WGA West President, Dies at 91

    Prolific Emmy-nominated television writer Christopher Edwin Knopf, former president of the Writers Guild of America West, died in his sleep of congestive heart failure on Feb. 13. He was 91. Knopf was born in New York and attended UCLA, leaving during his senior year to join the Air Force during World War II. He finished [...]

  • Jussie Smollett The Black AIDS Insitute

    Jussie Smollett Case: Two Suspects Released Without Charges as New Evidence Emerges

    After two days of questioning, the Chicago Police Department announced Friday evening that it has released two suspects in the Jussie Smollett case without filing charges. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said that detectives had developed new information in the case. Police no longer consider the men to be suspects. “Due to new evidence as a [...]

  • GOTHAM: L-R: Guest star Cameron Monaghan

    TV News Roundup: Fox Drops 'Gotham' Final Season Trailer (Watch)

    In today’s TV news roundup, Fox released a new trailer for an upcoming episode of “Gotham” and Disney has announced the cast for its upcoming “High School Musical” series.  FIRST LOOKS Showtime released a new trailer and the official poster for the upcoming fourth season of “Billions,” premiering March 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. In [...]

  • Chris Rock

    Chris Rock to Direct Kenan Thompson Comedy Pilot at NBC

    Chris Rock has come onboard to direct the NBC single-cam comedy pilot “Saving Kenan,” Variety has learned. Rock will also executive produce the pilot, which stars “SNL” mainstay Kenan Thompson. Thompson will play a newly widowed dad determined to be everything for his kids while begrudgingly letting his persistent father-in-law become more involved in their lives [...]

  • Peak TV Saturation TV Placeholder

    Apollo Global Management Buys Majority Stake in Cox TV Stations

    Private equity giant Apollo Global Management has cut a deal with Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises to buy a majority stake in Cox’s 13 TV stations as well as three newspapers and a handful of radio stations in Ohio. Apollo has been in the hunt for broadcast TV stations for some time. Cox’s station group, which includes [...]

  • Ken Jeong TV Take Podcast

    Listen: Ken Jeong on His Return to Stand-Up and New Netflix Special

    Welcome to “TV Take,” Variety’s television podcast. In this week’s episode, Variety’s executive editor of TV, Daniel Holloway, talks with Ken Jeong about his Netflix comedy special, “Ken Jeong: You Complete Me, Ho,” and being a judge on Fox’s “The Masked Singer.“ Jeong started working on his new standup act after ABC canceled his show “Dr. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content