MSNBC, CNN battling over Jen Psaki for network role after she leaves Biden White House – Fox News

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Both CNN and MSNBC are courting White House press secretary Jen Psaki in what one media insider is calling a “sad state of affairs” for the liberal cable outlets as they try to sign the longtime Democratic publicist.

According to a source familiar with the situation, CNN and MSNBC want Psaki and are in the early stages of talks for her to potentially join after she exits the Biden administration.

“It’s a sad state of affairs that MSNBC and CNN are fighting over a political operative who normally would be getting a job in PR,” one longtime media executive told Fox News Digital.

CNN interim co-president Amy Entelis and CNN+ programming lead Rebecca Kutler traveled to Washington earlier this month to recruit Psaki, followed by NBC News Chairman Cesar Conde and MSNBC President Rashida Jones, Puck’s Dylan Byers first reported Wednesday. Psaki is expected to leave the administration later this year, and according to the report, she has interest in hosting her own show, not just being a contributor like she was at CNN from 2017 to 2020.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

CNN SAGA: CUOMO-GOLLUST-ZUCKER SCANDAL CAUSING ‘LEGAL MESS’ THAT DISCOVERY WOULD BE WISE TO AVOID, EXPERTS SAY

CNN and MSNBC are slumping in the ratings, and the pursuit of Psaki is part of an industry-wide “desperate” search for talent in the post-Trump era, Puck reported.

Byers floated Psaki as a possible replacement for Rachel Maddow, the MSNBC star currently on a hiatus that’s left the outlet without a full-time host at the critical 9 p.m. hour. CNN, reeling from the scandalous exit of president Jeff Zucker, is in even more dire straits in that primetime slot, having fired anchor Chris Cuomo for misconduct and ethical lapses in December.

Psaki has served as press secretary since Biden took office, winning what Byers called “the adoration of the mainstream media” in the process. He wrote glowingly she was a “political celebrity, with the combination of West Wing bona fides and telegenic charm” that could allow her to slide into a broadcast booth. He also wrote she had “restored sanity and professionalism to the office” and that “Psaki’s star power has the potential to change the narrative for either network.”

Nicolle Wallace speaks with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on "Deadline: White House."

Nicolle Wallace speaks with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on “Deadline: White House.” (MSNBC)

RACHEL MADDOW’S EXTENDED BREAK CONTINUES TO HURT MSNBC AS FILL-IN ALEX WAGNER SHEDS 21% OF PRE-HIATUS VIEWERS

“I think the ‘next Rachel Maddow spin’ is way premature,” Fourth Watch newsletter editor Steve Krakauer told Fox News Digital. “She spent [three] years as a fine but unspectacular pundit on CNN. Doesn’t make sense to me that she’d jump into the anchor chair unless it’s at the streaming JV component of either channel.”

The source familiar with the situation suggested the Maddow replacement chatter was planted by Psaki’s agent Jay Sures, co-president of the powerful United Talent Agency (UTA), to generate buzz. Byers is also represented by UTA.

“They will basically be giving the Biden administration a primetime show to spread its propaganda – at the same time Cesar Conde is absurdly paying Rachel Maddow more than $30 million a year not to work. This is incompetence at its finest,” the executive told Fox News Digital.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks at a press briefing at the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks at a press briefing at the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

PSAKI SAYS BINGE-WATCHING ‘THE WEST WING’ BROUGHT HER BACK TO POLITICS

Meanwhile, CNN has gone on a hiring spree for its new subscriber streaming service, bringing on former ESPN anchor Jemele Hill, left-wing Twitter star Rex Chapman, former “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, and former NBC reporter Kasie Hunt. CNN+ is expected to launch in the coming weeks.

Psaki has enjoyed favorable coverage from both cable outlets now seeking her services.

On her first week last January, CNN media reporter Brian Stelter gushed “how refreshing” it was that she promised to share reliable information with reporters. MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace told her in June, “you get such high marks from the vast majority of the people in that [briefing] room.”

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Puck reported ABC and CBS also have interest in Psaki, who was a communications director in the Obama White House and also a State Department spokesperson. She joined CNN less than three weeks after former President Trump was inaugurated in 2017 and left shortly after President Biden’s victory in 2020 to join his transition team.

Source URL: https://www.foxnews.com/media/msnbc-cnn-psaki

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