TV News: Dr. Anthony Fauci, Anchor of his Own Show?

Sources at different TV news outlets believe that their networks would absolutely pursue a deal with the official, who made his first appearance since announcing his retirement on MSNBC’s ‘Rachel Maddow Show.’


His first stop? An exclusive interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

Maddow, asking about the increasingly distorted definition of “the truth,” asks Fauci what we can do in a world where “objective reality, or nuance is, by definition, the enemy.”

Fauci responded by saying that the “complete distortion of reality” we see will continue to be a challenge.

Dr. Anthony Fauci
“I mean, a world where untruths have almost become normalized, how we can see something in front of our very eyes and deny it’s happening,” Fauci told Maddow. “That’s the environment we’re living in. You could look at January 6 on TV, and you have some people who actually don’t believe it happened. How could that possibly be? And it’s now spilling over in denial about public health principles.”

As the Maddow appearance underscored, Fauci is an expert communicator, having given thousands of interviews in his decades of public service. But he has become a regular presence on TV for the past two years as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold around the world.

In the depths of the pandemic, he was almost ubiquitous, appearing on every network almost daily, while also sitting down with podcasters, YouTubers, and anyone else looking for guidance around the pandemic.

In his statement announcing his retirement, he said that he plans to stay in the public sphere after he steps aside.

“After more than 50 years of government service, I plan to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field,” Fauci said. “I want to use what I have learned as NIAID Director to continue to advance science and public health and to inspire and mentor the next generation of scientific leaders as they help prepare the world to face future infectious disease threats.”

That will include a book, but beyond that little is known. But his appearance on Maddow, and his effortless comfort in front of the camera beg the question: Would Fauci pursue a TV deal?

TV news organizations have long showered high-profile figures with lucrative analyst deals, and Fauci would be a prized target for a medical contributor role.

No TV news outlet would comment about their interest in Fauci, though multiple networks noted that they regularly look to add new contributors.

Even before the pandemic, doctors have been the most important contributors to TV news outlets. Some, like CNN Dr. Sanjay Gupta, becoming anchors in their own right.

But the pandemic underscored just how disruptive and important medicine is to the world, touching every aspect, from politics to the economy.

Fauci, with his ability to weave together medicine, science and politics would be a logical addition to any contributor lineup. During the pandemic, Fauci has appeared on nearly all major broadcast and cable channels.

On Monday night, Tucker Carlson compared Fauci to Fidel Castro, but on Tuesday, Fauci appeared on Fox NewsYour World.

MSNBC has already become a landing pad for Biden administration officials, so why not Fauci?

Why wouldn’t ABC, CBS or CNN have their own interest in hiring America’s most famous infectious disease doctor?

“Thank you for a lifetime, so far, of service,” Maddow said. “I can’t wait to see what you do next.”