There are rumors that White House press secretary Jen Psaki will be leaving the Biden administration at some point this year and is looking at a return to cable TV news following her departure. Before joining the administration, Psaki had been a paid contributor at CNN from 2017 to 2020.
Now comes word that both CNN and MSNBC are in something of a bidding war to win Psaki’s services, and she will likely be provided with a primetime anchor slot instead of just being a paid contributor again, Fox News reported.
One unnamed media executive told Fox of that news, “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.”
News networks courting Psaki
It was Puck News‘ Dylan Byers who first reported on Wednesday about the battle between CNN and MSNBC over the services of a post-White House Psaki.
He shared that two top executives for CNN, interim co-president Amy Entelis and CNN+ programming lead Rebecca Kutler, had traveled to Washington D.C. earlier this month to meet personally with and try to recruit Psaki to their network.
Just a week later, however, Psaki was paid a similar visit by NBC News Chairman Cesar Conde and MSNBC President Rashida Jones for the same purpose — recruiting the press secretary to be the network’s next big primetime star.
Also attempting to horn in on the Psaki action, albeit with fewer details from Byers, were said to be ABC News and CBS News. All for networks declined to respond when asked for comment or confirmation by the journalist.
Could be a permanent replacement for Chris Cuomo or Rachel Maddow
Byers went on to gush over Psaki as having “achieved veritable celebrity status” and for having “restored sanity and professionalism” to the press secretary position.
He also lauded her “West Wing bona fides and telegenic charm” and favorably compared her to ABC’s George Stephanopolous and MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, both of whom successfully transitioned from a White House communications role to a network news anchor chair.
Should Psaki land at either CNN or MSNBC, she could easily find herself filling the 9 pm ET time slot. On CNN, that slot used to be filled by the fired Chris Cuomo, while on MSNBC, that slot is filled by Rachel Maddow, who is currently on hiatus and is believed to be preparing to leave the network soon.
“Can’t get rid of me quite yet”
Psaki was asked about the CNN/MSNBC recruitment rumors during Friday’s press briefing, which she seemed to jokingly dismiss without a denial while taking a gratuitous shot at Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy, with whom she has frequently clashed over the past year.
“I have more than enough on my plate here, so you can’t get rid of me quite yet,” Psaki said. Then, pointing to Doocy, she added, “Sorry, Peter, for you on that. And so I will see you all on Monday.”