The same day NBC News announced it had re-upped Today show host Matt Lauer for another couple years, the news kinda got pushed aside by another report about NBC News — that it had paid Chelsea Clinton $600,000 a year as “special correspondent.”
As special correspondent since 2011, Clinton has: admired the vegetarianism of Stella and Linda McCartney, reflected on Judy Blume’s impact on her childhood, profiled a woman from Pine Bluff, AR who runs a program for some of that city’s poorest children, spoken to Paul McCartney about how cool it is to be Stella’s dad, and learned that elephants are very human.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled with Matt’s decision NBC News president Deborah Turness said in a statement about Lauer’s re-up. “As I’ve said many times before, he’s the best in the business, and there is nobody I would rather have in the Today anchor chair than Matt.” Added Lauer in his own statement: “I consider this the best job in broadcasting. I love people I work with every day and I have such respect and gratitude for the people I work for. I couldn’t be happier to be staying.”
Speaking of couldn’t-be-happier, Lauer’s last contract reportedly paid him about $20 million-$25 million a year; his contract before that came with a reported paycheck of $17 mil per. NBC News, in its announcement via NYT, declined to discuss finances. Clinton, meanwhile, has been busted down to a month-to-month player, in case her mom runs for POTUS and she again becomes First Daughter, reported Politico in its Clinton salary post.
Back in November of ’11, NBC News announced it had hired Clinton, joining a proud tradition of political children hired by NBC News, reaching way back to the days of JFK/RFK/Ted Kennedy niece Maria Shriver. At the time of Clinton’s hire, that roster included George W. Bush’s daughter Jenna Bush Hager, hired as a correspondent for Today, and Sen. John McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain, who back then was a contributor at MSNBC. Daughters of former presidents and presidential hopefuls continue to be the Drew Barrymores of New York TV network news divisions — the Willow Smiths of Washington, though, more recently, NBC News has branched out, hiring the son of actress Mia Farrow and either Woody Allen or Frank Sinatra — Mia’s not saying which.
Clinton’s hire was notable because, at the time, NBC’s news chief said she’d been “preparing for this opportunity her entire life,” which, in round numbers meant she had, as the child of Bill and Hillary Clinton, dodged the media her whole life, the press largely agreeing to stay away while she grew up, so she would live her life as privately as possible. Back then, Chelsea Clinton told Brian Williams that her decision to go to work for NBC News was owing in large measure to her grandmother, who believed “life is not about what happens to you, but what you do with what happens to you,” and who had been challenging her to “lead more of a purposefully public life” telling her, ” that being Chelsea Clinton had happened to me, and that I had a responsibility to do something with that asset.” She did not mention the $600,000.