Nicolle Wallace plans to expand beyond MSNBC politics with streaming series


Every weekday on MSNBC, Nicolle Wallace examines the biggest issues in politics. But in Peacock, she’s about to get a little personal.

In a four-part miniseries now available on the NBCUniversal broadcast hub, the former White House communications director and host of MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House” is launching the first entry in “Deadline: Special Report,” a series of deep dives into topics he wouldn’t normally cover during his late afternoon cable TV shift. Wallace interviews actors Taraji P. Henson and Rosie Perez, as well as Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn, about her mental health and how to make her more part of the national conversation. Viewers of the Peacock series, executive produced by Patrick Burkey, will also see Wallace interview a physician who has pioneered a novel approach to mental health care in and out of the classroom.

Struggles with mental health, anxiety and feelings of isolation are “so universal” and became more so as the nation grappled with the pandemic, Wallace says. Variety. “I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been touched by a challenge or who hasn’t struggled.”

The interviews get “deeply personal,” says Wallace, with Henson acknowledging having suicidal thoughts during the pandemic and Vonn talking about her mother, who had recently passed away. The talks took place in person at NBC’s Studio 6A, a facility that has been used for everything from live broadcasts with Chris Hayes to Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager’s “Today” hour and Megyn Kelly’s stabbing. on morning television.

More talks are on the way, says Wallace. “The idea is to do multiple series and dig into individual themes without overlapping too much with what we do on broadcast.”

By expanding his opening, Wallace is helping MSNBC cross a difficult bridge. Every national television news channel is trying to develop content for broadcast audiences, but cable networks face a thorny challenge. While popular hosts are likely to entice audiences to watch new broadcast venues, offering programming too closely resembling what’s already on cable would cannibalize audiences and could anger distributors who hold content. exclusive to prevent your subscribers from cutting the cord.

At Fox News Channel, prime-time news coverage and opinion are two of the main products. But on Fox Nation, anchors and hosts like Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt examine hobbies like cooking or books, while Tucker Carlson offers an extra take on something he might not always cover in prime time. Before CNN’s broadcast venue, CNN+, was scuttled by parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, the outlet had Don Lemon running a talk show with a live studio audience (a show, a nightly newscast run by Wolf Blitzer, seemed similar in tone to his TV show “The Situation Room”).

Despite the touchy subject at the center of Wallace’s first broadcast, the interviewees did not hold back. “I was shocked on a very human level by how many people wanted to talk to people about this, how many high-profile people were eager to bring this conversation center stage and talk about it,” says Lisa Ferri, Senior Producer. for “Deadline: White House” that she is working with Wallace on special reports. Participants were “very committed to going in there and laying it all out,” he says, noting that the interview sessions “almost had the feel of an old-fashioned Larry King or Barbara Walters conversation. They were longer, more conversational, and not limited by the weather”.

When it comes to streaming, MSNBC may be counting heavily on Wallace and some of his colleagues on the daily cable show. In August, the network scaled back some of the shows it was making available on its Peacock streaming hub, canceling shows run by Zerlina Maxwell and Ayman Mohyeldin. A few months earlier, MSNBC unveiled a plan to make some of its best-known cable talk shows available to Peacock’s premium customers, along with specials with top hosts including Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Trymaine Lee and others.

Viewers of “Deadline: The White House” are not deprived of deeper conversations. From time to time, Wallace has done multi-segment interviews with newsmakers like Michael Cohen or former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and the format remains something the host and his team want to incorporate into the daily show.


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