NBC is Keeping Chelsea Clinton for One Reason Only

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Chelsea Clinton may be an entitled diva with prudish rules about what she'll cover at NBC News, but her network colleagues don't come off any better in Buzzfeed's feature on her television career, since all they seem to want from her is to hear about Monica Lewinsky.

Truly, if a brand new colleague showed up with her own private assistant and a town car driving her everywhere and ground rules about what she would and wouldn't cover -- "only good news, no politics," one unnamed executive who passed on her said -- we'd privately mock and resent them. But from the sound of it, NBC News is keeping Clinton around in spite of her lackluster performance in hopes she'll finally break her silence about what it was like during the Lewinsky scandal. That's just mean. If she's failing, let her fail on her own merits. But if they did that, NBC wouldn't land the interview that Buzzfeed's Michael Hastings correctly characterizes as "one of the all-time blockbuster gets."

The NBC executives don't say they're keeping her on in so they can get an exclusive on her story, but that really seems to be the case, per Hastings:

“What’s she giving us?” one NBC executive, who sees Chelsea regularly, asks. “There’s that wall that needs to be torn down. She sounds like a smart and intelligent woman, but there are lots of smart and intelligent women.” Until she’s willing to answer the Monica question, or any real question—to finally open her soul to public view, paying the required tribute to the media gods, to have her Oprah moment —it’s unlikely she’ll be given a warm public embrace. “Is she just boring,” wonders the NBC exec. “Or can she come out of her shell?”

If she sucks so bad at television now, though, would opening up about Lewinsky really make her more watchable after that interview was over? It seems unlikely, but there's only one way to know for sure.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.