D.C. Does Hollywood

Ted Sarandos and Chelsea Clinton
Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty
Peter Hamby
January 13, 2022

It’s been a rollicking week for observers of the bicoastal political-media revolving door. Most notable was a trio of cable news programming announcements, with Fox News adding Jesse Watters to the 7 pm hour; CNN poaching Audie Cornish from NPR to helm a new show on CNN+, its forthcoming streaming platform; and MSNBC hiring Symone Sanders, the talented Bernie-and-Biden campaign pro, to host a weekend program on the network’s linear channel and another show for its digital outpost on Peacock. As my colleague Dylan Byers wrote yesterday, each move portends how these networks are incrementally pivoting talent in anticipation of a world where the traditional cable business is inevitably going away.

That backdrop of media industry transformation was very much on my mind this week, and on the minds of Puck readers who wrote to me at peter@puck.news. Herewith, my thoughts and observations on the Washington-Hollywood complex, Ted Cruz’s struggle session with Fox News, and the second coming of Beto O’Rourke in Texas.

Peter, I’m noticing a pattern of Democratic talent exiting high profile political gigs for media/entertainment: Symone Sanders to MSNBC, David Sirota to Hollywood. The Obama guys seem largely focused on their podcasting empire; Axelrod appears to be enjoying his emeritus status.  Is political work, as opposed to political media, simply less appealing these days?