Since Jen Psaki started her job as White House press secretary in January 2021, it's been unclear exactly how long she planned to stay in the role. At first she said she'd stay about a year, then last June she noted there was some "flexibility" on that timeline and that she could end up sticking around longer. Now, her exit may be imminent, with a source telling Axios the 43-year-old communications pro is in talks to join MSNBC after she leaves the White House, possibly as early as next month. Psaki will reportedly host a show for the network on Peacock, NBCUniversal's streaming platform, as well as pop up on various shows on MSNBC proper. (After the Axios report came out, CNN and the Hill confirmed with their own sources.)
Earlier in the year, Dylan Byers reported at Puck that both MSNBC and CNN were "feverishly" wooing Psaki, with ABC News and CBS News also interested, and that she could be "the next Rachel Maddow." Axios notes, however, that Psaki won't be sliding into Maddow's 9pm weeknight slot (Poynter notes Maddow is on hiatus right now to work on a film, and that she'll likely leave her show for good at some point to take on other NBCUniversal projects). Sources tell Axios that although no contracts have been inked, Psaki has already started spreading the word about her move to MSNBC to senior White House officials, though she hasn't officially told the White House press staff.
Due to the legal and ethical finagling involved with public employees who leave for the private sector, Psaki is also said to be having conversations with White House counsel, while MSNBC is talking to its own legal team to make sure its discussions with Psaki don't breach any protocol. Meanwhile, the Hill notes that eyes are already trained upon Psaki's possible replacements. Karine Jean-Pierre, one of Psaki's deputy press secretaries, is seen as the most likely successor, though Chris Meagher and Andrew Bates, also both deputy press secretaries, and Kate Bedingfield, the White House's communications chief, have also all taken a turn at the briefing room mic in recent days. "It's been a bit of a tryout for all of them," an administration official says. (Read more Jen Psaki stories.)