Cable news talent wars are shifting to streaming platforms

Job vacancies in cable news companies pile up as networks and journalists begin searching for streaming alternatives.

why does it matter: Primetime cable slots and Sunday shows are no longer the most opportunistic setting for major TV talent.

News leadership: Longtime Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace announced his departure from the network after nearly two decades. He will join CNN as anchor of its new broadcast service, CNN+.

  • Wallace will present a new weekday show and contribute to the network’s daily live programming, according to CNN.
  • His decision not to renew his contract with the network, which expired this year, was CNN’s Brian Stelter mentioned.

The Big Picture: Wallace is the latest in a string of departures and reviewers for cable news hosts in the past few weeks and months. There are now several holes that cable heads will need to fill in the coming weeks.

  • MSNBC’s Brian Williams signed off from his 11 p.m. show on MSNBC last week after 28 years with the network.
  • MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow is expected to leave her daily show next year as she pursues various types of journalistic endeavors with the network, which will leave MSNBC’s 9 p.m. prime time website open.
  • CNN’s Chris Cuomo was terminated from the network last Saturday, leaving CNN’s 9 p.m. prime-time station open.

be clever: Major networks are investing heavily to attract talent to streaming alternatives in light of the decline of linear television.

  • CNN has hired NBC News veteran Kasie Hunt as anchor and analyst for CNN+, at a salary of over $1 million. It’s hiring hundreds of new roles for the streaming service, scheduled to launch next quarter. In April, it
  • NBC News has already hired the majority of the 200-plus new jobs it announced over the summer for the new broadcast service and digital team, a top Axios executive confirmed last month. One line TV presenter, Joshua Johnson, has moved on full time to host a prime-time streaming show for NBC News Now.
  • Fox News launched a new weather-focused streaming service in October. A Fox executive said last week that the company was ready to migrate Fox News to a streaming platform when the time came.
  • CBS News recently changed the name of its broadcast service from CBSN to “CBS News” to represent a new streamlined vision for broadcasting.

Between the lines: Television networks have been forced to adapt to broadcasting faster than expected due to the massive shift to digital consumption during the pandemic.

  • Last year was the worst in history for wire cutting, according to analysts at research firm MoffettNathanson, and 2021 doesn’t look much better.
  • Before the pandemic, there were nearly 93 million households paying for TV pay, per MoffettNathanson. Today, there are about 84 million, and that includes those who get live TV via digital “narrow package” subscriptions.

Bottom line: Television networks won’t stop investing seriously in linear news programming until sports come out of the cable bundle, and it won’t be for a few more years.

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