Variety and The Hollywood Reporter both are are reporting that CNN has snatched Kasie Hunt, the Capitol Hill correspondent long viewed as a rising star at NBC News, as part of an aggressive bid to push the WarnerMedia cable-news outlet into the new frontier of streaming video. Her new deal is worth $1.5 million a year which is well above the $250,000 she earned at NBC.
Hunt gave NBC the chance to match her deal with CNN and they declined. Kasie will become the face of the new soon-to-launch streaming service CNN+.
“It’s an enormous opportunity for the news brand that gets it right,” says former CNN U.S. president Jon Klein, who subsequently founded two direct-to-consumer streaming businesses. “The beauty of streaming is that you can have near-perfect knowledge of your audience, in a way that cable distribution has never allowed. That is the pot of gold waiting at the end of the streaming rainbow for news networks.”
Meanwhile, MSNBC is expanding its presence on parent company NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock, developing new shows with notable talent, and rebranding to better incorporate the MSNBC brand name.
For starters, MSNBC’s Peacock channel The Choice will rebrand as The Choice by MSNBC, making the cable channel’s name more visible for streaming viewers.
It’s also planning an expanded slate of programming, with a handful of shows in development or already scheduled featuring hosts recognizable to the channel’s TV viewership.
Among the shows in development is Morning Mika, a news and commentary program hosted by Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski. That program, which plays off of the name of the MSNBC morning show, will debut later this year. Nicolle Wallace is also working on a new show for Peacock.
Some MSNBC talent contracts are up in the next year or so including Stephanie Ruhle Hallie Jackson Craig Melvin, Katy Tur Ayman Mohyeldin. So, what the network is planning on doing to keep them in place is a big decision.
As for Willie Geist he still has two years left on a deal that pays him around $1.5 million a year and the network has made him a “must keep,” so it is unlikely he will be leaving even when his deal is up.