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MSNBC has hired its first veteran of the Biden White House.
Democratic political strategist Symone Sanders, who just last month was working as chief spokesperson for Vice President Kamala Harris, is joining MSNBC.
Sanders will host multiple programs for the NBCUniversal-owned cable news operation, including a weekend program on MSNBC’s linear cable channel, and a show on its streaming platform, The Choice. Specifics like time slots, the show titles and production teams are still TBD, though the channel says Sanders will also serve as a fill-in anchor on MSNBC, presumably for some of its primetime talent.
Sanders will be based out of Washington, D.C., with her shows set to explore “issues at the intersection of politics, culture and race and break down how decisions made in Washington impact electorates, industries, and communities across the country.”
Sanders announced her plans to leave the White House last month, and quickly received interest from multiple news outlets (including CNN), according to a source familiar with the matter.
Before joining the White House last year, Sanders served as a senior adviser to President Biden’s 2020 campaign, and she was the national press secretary for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. She also worked as a CNN contributor after leaving the Sanders campaign.
The veteran political operative is a high-profile hire for MSNBC and a sign that the cable news outlet is serious about investing in streaming. MSNBC’s weekend programming and its shows on The Choice typically lean toward opinion and analysis, while its weekday daytime schedule is shifting to be more news-focused.
Sanders is also one of the biggest hires yet by MSNBC president Rashida Jones, who was appointed to the top post a year ago.
2022 is shaping up to be a significant year for The Choice, which is housed within NBCUniversal’s larger Peacock streaming service. The company is also in development in a number of other programs for the service, including Morning Joe spinoff Morning Mika and shows hosted by Nicolle Wallace and Michael Beschloss.
The hiring of Sanders also underscores how cable news channels continue to balance their linear channels, which drive the business models of today, with investing in streaming, which is expected to become the dominant source of viewership over time.
Sanders also joins MSNBC at a time of significant transition on-air. 11 p.m. host Brian Williams left last month, and 9 p.m. stalwart Rachel Maddow is expected to shift to a new role later this year that will see her step aside from her daily program.
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