Symone Sanders, who last month departed as senior adviser and chief spokesperson for Vice President Kamala Harris, is joining MSNBC, where she will host on weekends and on the network’s Peacock streaming channel, The Choice from MSNBC.
Sanders’ is one of the first major hires by Rashida Jones, who coming up on a year in her role, as MSNBC’s president. She made the announcement to staff on Monday morning.
Sanders’ show will “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,” the network said in its announcement. She also will interview elected and government officials.
Sanders also will serve as a fill in anchor on the network. The show title and launch date of Sanders’ shows have yet to be announced.
On The Choice from MSNBC, Sanders will join other figures such as Zerlina Maxwell, Mehdi Hasan and Ayman Mohyeldin, as NBCU News Group Chairman Cesar Conde last year announced a boost in programming and hiring on the network’s streaming platforms. They also include NBC News Now and Today All Day.
Sanders has been critical of the way that Beltway media has covered the administration. “Not nearly enough talk about how the beltway media aka DC media needs to elevate its discourse and report the actual news. Too many of the ‘hot takes’ are just tired and wrong,” she wrote on Twitter recently. A number of stories have focused on discord in Harris’ office, with the departure of Sanders and some other officials, but that has gotten some pushback from the vice president’s defenders as normal turnover in an ultra-demanding environment.
In announcing her departure from Harris’ staff last month, she said that she will be an “outside voice” of support.
“Our president and VP are fighters and I will continue to be on the team, fighting for them,” she wrote, according to Politico.
Sanders, 32, was previously a commentator on CNN and author of No, You Shut Up: Speaking Truth to Power and Reclaiming America. She has often emphasized her roots as a native of Omaha, NE, but she also has had a meteoric career on campaigns and as a political strategist. She served as Bernie Sanders’ national press secretary in 2016, and in 2019 joined Joe Biden’s presidential campaign as senior adviser.
She also will be among a long list of former administration figures who’ve gone the cable news route — and sometimes back again. Kayleigh McEnany was a CNN commentator who then worked for the Republican National Committee and Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, before becoming White House press secretary. She is now co-host on Fox News’ Outnumbered. Nicolle Wallace, who hosts MSNBC’s Deadline: White House, is an alum of George W. Bush’s administration and John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. David Axelrod, commentator for CNN, was top strategist in Barack Obama’s administration.
MSNBC is faced with programming holes to fill this year, including that of the 11 PM ET hour following the departure of Brian Williams last month. Rachel Maddow also reportedly plans to scale back from her schedule, although no announcement has been made. She signed a new contract with NBCUniversal last summer.
NBC News Group Chairman Cesar Conde also has made a priority of diversifying the ranks of the division on and off camera. In July 2020, he announced an initiative for the news group to be 50% women and 50% people of color. No exact date was set for reaching that goal, but at the time he said that progress would be reported every year. The network said that they have added a dozen people of color to host and anchor programs since then.