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Puck welcomes John Heilemann as its Chief Political Columnist!

The Kids Stay in the Picture

Neeraj Khemlani speaks onstage during the Truth Seekers Summit on August 25, 2022. Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty.
Dylan Byers
December 9, 2022

Earlier this year, NBC News president Noah Oppenheim and his friend Eric Newman, a Hollywood writer and producer, sold a political thriller mini-series to Netflix. This wasn’t Oppenheim’s first foray in Hollywood. After an early career as a show producer across the various NBC news channels, Oppenheim had left 30 Rock in 2008 to pursue his ambitions as a screenwriter—co-writing a couple notable science fiction films before writing Jackie, the Camelot biopic that won him Best Screenplay at Venice. 

But ever since 2015, when Oppenheim returned to NBC News, and certainly after his promotion to president two years later, his screenwriting career was placed on indefinite hiatus. The obligations of running a national news network were too demanding—especially given the various tightrope-walking headaches, from Brian Williams’ relocation to the Matt Lauer revelations—for even an ambitious and still relatively young overachiever who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard. (Funny how this detail can keep popping up in one’s autobiography…)