One of the news industry’s worst-kept secrets is finally seeing the light of day.
Jen Psaki, the White House Press Secretary who resigned from the role a few weeks ago, is slated to join MSNBC in the fall, where she will host a new streaming program that is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2023. She will also appear on NBC and during MSNBC’s special programming related to the 2022 midterm elections and the 2024 presidential election. MSNBC is confirming a hire that has been known about in TV-news circles for several months.
“Her extensive experience in government and on the campaign trail and perspective as a White House and Washington insider is the type of analysis that sets MSNBC apart,” said Rashida Jones, MSNBC’s president, in a prepared statement. “She’s a familiar face and trusted authority to MSNBC viewers, and we look forward to her insight during this consequential election season.”
Psaki’s hire is emblematic of big changes taking place at MSNBC, which for the past few years had portrayed itself as a place where viewers might get breaking-news coverage across the day and even into the evening when warranted, while being served opinion programming from a progressive lens in primetime. Increasingly, however, the network is ceding more hours to opinion programming — “Morning Joe” was recently expanded to four hours and MSNBC has hired analysts and opinion hosts like Katie Phang and Ayman Mohyeldin — and has shrunk the number of programs devoted to straight news.
To be sure, there are news programs in late morning and mid-afternoon. Chris Jansing, a veteran anchor, is taking over the 1 p.m. slot once devoted to Chuck Todd’s weekday version of “Meet The Press.” That program has moved to NBC News Now.
Many of these shifts take place as the advent of streaming video pushes NBCUniversal to shake up how it operates its news assets. Traditional news coverage has increasingly become the province of streaming-video products from NBC News, including the broadband outlet NBC News Now, as well as a streaming feed from the company’s venerable “Today” program.
Psaki is the second former Democratic political operative hired by MSNBC in recent months. Symone Sanders, a former adviser to campaigns run by President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, is now hosting a weekend show that also appears for streamers during part of the week. Psaki and Sanders are represented by United Talent Agency.
Psaki just finished a 16-month stint as White House Press Secretary for the the Biden administration. She previously served as the White House Communications Director under former President Barack Obama and as the spokeswoman for the Department of State. She is an alumna of John Kerry’s presidential campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns. She was also a key member of the Biden-Harris transition team.
“My time in government, from the White House to the State Department, and years before that on national political campaigns will fuel the insight and perspective I bring to this next chapter,” Psaki said in a statement. ” I can’t wait to create a space on streaming where we break down the facts, get to the bottom of what’s driving the issues and hopefully have some fun along the way.”