Clinton reportedly got an icy reception from female news veterans like Ann Curry, Natalie Morales, Kate Snow and Meredith Vieira, who thought the job was way over her head. Clinton has no broadcast experience.
The job isn’t rocket science and Clinton probably had a bevy of producers on hand to walk her through her first piece. Yet television critics said she was stiff and boring in her Dec. 12 debut (see below).
Baltimore Sun television critic David Zurawik called her hiring a “journalistically bankrupt decision.”
NBC created “unrealistic expectations for Chelsea, who in turn signed the short contract to see if she liked it or not,” a source told The New York Post. “It’s possible she will do more for NBC in the future, [but] she doesn’t know if she’ll sign another contract.”
The timing also couldn’t have been worse. The economy is floundering and jobs are scarce. Veteran journalists, many out of work, would kill for the opportunity. The media industry suffered a 30 percent decline in jobs last year.
Clinton, who obviously has other means, really didn’t need the work. Some speculate that she was merely a “ratings grabber,” or a welfare case for the rich and well-connected. After all, her father is a former president.
NBC was quick to denounce the speculation. Responding to the Post story, a network spokesman called the report “100 percent false.”
“You will see more pieces from Chelsea. She has been warmly welcomed into this news division, and we can’t be more pleased with her work,” the rep said. “We hope she will be with us for a long time. There was no over-hyping of her role.”
But does Chelsea want to stay? “She is only at the beginning of her contract, and when she gets closer to the end, discussions will begin about whether or not to renew,” her rep said. The contract is for 90 days.
“In the meantime she is very much enjoying her time there and looking forward to her next piece airing.”
There was no heavy lifting in her first segment. She did most of the talking in an interview style with Williams in the studio.
But she did go on the road for the piece to the Topps Center, which administers to the poor in Pine Bluff, Ark., a project that is near and dear to her heart.
Check out the video below.