Katy Tur and Jacob Soboroff have been talking to each other since they were teenagers growing up around Los Angeles. Now MSNBC audiences will get to see them discuss what are likely to be much more serious subjects.
The two NBC News journalists will lead the new four-part MSNBC documentary series “American Swamp,” which launches Sunday, July 28 at 9 p.m. Each week, the duo will travel across the United States and examine areas of political dysfunction. In the first broadcast, Tur and Soboroff journey to Arizona and Montana to look at how big money influences local elections. In another, they examine who has influence at Mar-A-Lago, the Florida club controlled by President Donald Trump.
The series is produced by NBC News’ Peacock Productions.
Regular viewers of TV-news documentaries might be surprised by the “Swamp” format, which often features Soboroff and Tur talking to each other on camera, rather than hewing to the old-school model of a single anchor doing voice-overs or speaking directly to viewers in a formal manner. Many news organizations are testing new presentations, taking correspondents into the field or out from behind a desk in order to offer viewers a sense of more immediacy and less distance between themselves and the story that originally interested them.
“MSNBC viewers love watching sharp, political reporters offer their analysis and interpretations on the latest breaking political news and banter with each other. Katy and Jacob have each other since they were teenagers and have a fantastic rapport that really comes through on camera,” says Liz Cole, the president of Peacock Productions who is also executive producer of “Dateline.” “Bringing them together in the field was a natural fit and gave us an opportunity to do that in broader context, centered on their great storytelling and field reporting”
Tur and Soboroff speak with Democratic Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Michael Bennet, Republican Senators Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham, Governor Steve Bullock and Tom Steyer to learn how corporations and lobbyists attempt to sway local politics across the country. The series also features an interview with former Senator Russ Feingold, who introduced, along with the late Sen. John McCain, the first major bill addressing campaign finance abuses since the 1970’s. Tempe, Arizona, Mayor Lauren Kuby discusses her recent efforts leading a bipartisan effort to disclose the influence of so-called “dark money” in her city.
Producers at Peacock Productions discussed the concept among themselves, then approached MSNBC President Phil Griffin about the idea.
Both correspondents have enjoyed growing profiles at NBC News. Tur, who wrote the 2017 book, “Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History,” gained notice after following the Trump campaign around the country. Soboroff has been a diligent chronicler of the nation’s immigration crisis and has broken several stories about the way people seeking asylum or refuge in the United States are being treated in facilities at the nation’s southern border.
“They are both leaders in coverage of all areas relating to Washington,” notes Cole. “Jacob has been on the forefront of reporting on the immigration crisis at the border and Katy literally wrote the book on the 2016 presidential election, after covering the Trump campaign in its entirety and going toe-to-toe with then candidate Trump in several interviews and exchanges.”
Keith McKay serves as executive producer of the series. Paul Epstein, Ellen Mason and Allison Orr are executive producers. Andrew Muscato is co-executive producer and Elizabeth Fischer is senior executive producer. Jonathan Wald is senior vice president of programming and development for MSNBC and Nina Weinstein is director of development.