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The big five news organizations have passed on offering former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer a job as an exclusive paid contributor, network sources confirmed to NBC News on Tuesday.
Since Spicer exited the White House, his representatives have been holding individual conversations about the possibility of President Donald Trump's former flack joining one of the major TV networks, which include CBS News, CNN, Fox News, ABC News and NBC News.
But "they won't touch him," said a media industry executive familiar with those conversations.
“The news organizations might use him on roundtables, but [a paid exclusive contributor job] is not happening,” the executive added.
A number of network insiders who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect their business relationships said none of the networks were interested in hiring Spicer because of a "lack of credibility."
Representatives of the five news networks all declined to comment. Spicer and Robert Barnett, his representative, also declined to comment.
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CNN had already said it wasn’t interested in him ahead of planned conversations, while Axios reported on Sept. 7 that Fox News would not be offering Spicer a TV contract. Fox News has previously hired the former White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Dana Perino. On Tuesday, sources with knowledge of the decisions confirmed that CBS News, ABC News and NBC News also would not offer him an exclusive role.
A person familiar with Spicer’s ongoing talks said that while conversations had not concluded, network punditry wasn’t the most important measure of success and that Spicer may want more freedom to work for multiple outlets. There are also talks about a nonscripted reality show in the mix, said one person familiar with the situation.
Meanwhile, there could also be interest in Spicer from other outlets.
Spicer announced he was leaving the White House in July after news broke that Trump had appointed voluble Wall Street executive Anthony Scaramucci as communications director, and he formally departed in August. (Scaramucci was ousted after just 10 days after his appointment was announced.) One of Spicer’s first moves was to hire Barnett, the veteran Washington politics and media lawyer.
Spicer already has a role as a visiting fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, and is signed with Worldwide Speakers Group for paid speaking engagements. The company website touts Spicer's ability to discuss "the people, philosophies and policies that matter most to the citizens of the U.S. and businesses around the world.”
On Sunday, Spicer surprised the Emmy Awards audience by rolling out on a podium and describing the size of the crowd — a nod to both actress Melissa McCarthy's portrayal of him on "Saturday Night Live" and a reference to Spicer’s incorrect contention that the president had attracted the “largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period,” in January.
When asked by The New York Times after the show if he regretted the way he had treated the press and their reporting on inauguration crowd size, he responded, “Of course I do, absolutely.”
Spicer reportedly turned down an invitation to compete on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” in August.