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Cesar Salad

Cesar Conde
In the Cesar Conde era, “no drama” has essentially been the modus operandi at NBC News, and it’s part of why the Comcast guys in Philly like him. Photo: Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images
Dylan Byers
April 10, 2024

Last Saturday evening, NBC News Group chairman Cesar Conde left his tony apartment at 15 Central Park West and traveled uptown to Harlem’s Apollo Theater, where Rachel Maddow was interviewing her colleague Joy Reid on the occasion of the latter’s new book. Just two weeks earlier, of course, both MSNBC primetime anchors had played starring roles in the network’s 24-hour on-air mutiny against Conde and his charges over their injudicious, $600,000 acquisition of Ronna McDaniel—the election-denying Trump loyalist and ex-R.N.C. chair (who also happens to be terrible on television)—as a contributor. Ostensibly, Conde was at the Apollo to play the role of supportive coach, though one suspects he hoped to earn back some goodwill for himself in the process. 

Backstage, Conde greeted the talent and their entourages—the Rev. Al Sharpton, who also took the stage; former MSNBC president Phil Griffin, who now runs Maddow’s production company; etcetera—and mostly evaded any discussion about the recent clusterfuck at his network. It had been 10 days since Conde announced that NBC News would sever its ties with McDaniel—plenty of water under the bridge—and he had long been trying to telegraph a return to normalcy. It was all “very warm,” a source present backstage that night said. “No drama.”