Even high ranking company officials within NBC, according to sources at 30 Rock, weren’t that impressed with her. One senior staffer told colleagues after multiple meetings that Chelsea was going to be simply “terrible” on television. Upon her arrival, Chelsea was given a welcome bag, filled with NBC swag, 30 Rockers tell me. NBC’s David Gregory responded by jokingly asking: “Where’s my welcome bag?”
Gregory’s joke hints at the unprecedented level of special treatment Chelsea receives: she didn’t do live shots on her Rock Center debut; she gets chauffeured everywhere in a town car while others her age strap hang with the suckers in Gotham’s sewers; she has her own personal spokesperson; and she has her own chief-of-staff, Bari Lurie. (Lurie is to Chelsea what Huma Abedin is to Hillary: a fiercely loyal female aide and confidante, who logged over 7,000 miles with her during the 2008 campaign.) Other top talent at the network noticed that luxury: Lester Holt, Hoda Kotb, Natalie Morales, and Savannah Guthrie all share a single assistant. (An NBC spokesperson says, however, that Chelsea pays for her own chief of staff.)
Not to mention how all the kids in NBC reacted. “The message was, ‘You didn’t waste your journalism degree,’” says one NBC news staffer. “There’s resentment.” The critical reception of her debut on Rock Center wasn’t great, either: the Washington Post described her as “one of the most boring people of her era.” And, NBC sources say, for her debut, they pre-taped her intro interview with Brian Williams at least twice (they ended up using the first taping,) an unusual move for what’s presented as a spontaneous interview…
Almost everyone I spoke to for this story—from within NBC and at other networks as well—agree that that problem is that she won’t talk about the one thing that makes her undeniably compelling. How did it feel to be Chelsea Clinton during the Monica years? In the past, she’s responded angrily to that question. “It’s none of your business,” she told an audience after being questioned about it on the 2008 campaign trail.