You can’t tie these anchors down.
MSNBC’s Symone Sanders and CNN’s Kaitlan Collins have both moved to WME for representation after previously being signed to UTA, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Sanders launched a new Sunday program in May of last year, and her contract with MSNBC ends in early 2024, according to two of these people. Collins is one of three co-anchors at “CNN This Morning,” which executives at the Warner Bros. Discovery-owned outlet are trying to improve after a rocky start, and where the three hosts have had to work through on-set tensions.
The defections of the two anchors from one big agency to the other puts a spotlight on the never-ending battle between Hollywood heavyweights to woo new clients. Both talent firms are powerhouses. UTA represents many of the top anchors at CNN, including Jake Tapper and Alisyn Camerota, as well as CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell and ABC News’ David Muir. Meanwhile, WME represents MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Alex Wagner and Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, and Amna Nawaz of “PBS NewsHour.”
Collins’ move may have been spurred by the fact that UTA had represented both her and her “CNN This Morning” co-anchor Don Lemon, creating a difficult situation as knots are being ironed out at the A.M. show. WME is said to have made a serious pitch that gives her access to multiple executives, according to one of the people familiar with the move. The belief is that Collins, a young up-and-comer who has taken up anchor duties during the early part of her arc in TV journalism, has more ahead of her.
It’s not the first time an agency or a client has had to weigh whether either can work through a seeming conflict. In 2018, CAA and Megyn Kelly broke off their relationship after the anchor found herself having to negotiate an exit from NBC News in the wake of an on-air controversy. CAA also represented former NBC News President Noah Oppenheim.
Sanders, a former media strategist who lent assistance to two different Democratic presidential campaigns, came to MSNBC directly from working as a media aide to U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris. In addition to hosting a Sunday program on MSNBC, she also anchors a program on MSNBC’s streaming hub on Peacock. Her program, “Symone,” explores issues at the intersection of politics, culture and race, and features interviews with top newsmakers.
Collins’ move to WME was previously reported by The New York Post.