MSNBC host Kasie Hunt says her newly launched Sunday night program is focused on being "tough but fair" to members of all ideological stripes due to her "very straight reporting background" built during years as a wire reporter.
The NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent tells The Hill that feedback around her interviews with guests from both sides of the aisle has resulted in her show "Kasie DC" being seen as tough but fair, an increasingly less common sentiment in today's polarized political media climate.
"For Republicans, those questions [are] typically about the president. For Democrats, there are significant divisions within their party," explains the 32-year-old George Washington University graduate by phone. "I’ve pressed the guests that we’ve had from the Democratic side of the aisle on just who do they even have to be the standard-bearer next year."
"So I think people of both sides have felt like our questions have been tough, but I also think that both sides feel like they’ve been fair," she continues. "Our first show we had the House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPaul Ryan researched narcissistic personality disorder after Trump win: book Paul Ryan says it's 'really clear' Biden won election: 'It was not rigged. It was not stolen' Democrats fret over Trump-district retirements ahead of midterms MORE, which I think makes a statement about how we’re viewed in the context of all this."
Hunt said her straight reporting background as a political reporter at The Associated Press remains "a very important part of my identity," adding, "Just because I have this new show does not mean that that’s going to change."
"Kasie DC" launched in October as a rare two-hour program as the cable news network continues to expand its weekend programming, including stretching its "MSNBC Live" news programming to Sunday.
Since 2005, MSNBC had primarily featured its prison documentary series, "Lockup," on most weekend nights to relatively decent ratings.
"Morning Joe First Look" co-anchor Yasmin Vossoughian now hosts a show at 4 p.m., and NBC News foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin took over the 5 p.m. slot.
The move comes as all the major cable news networks have beefed up original programming on weekends, with most of the recently added programs having a political focus.
Hunt says what helps her program stand out from others in a decidedly-political cable news environment is the job she performs five days a week as a correspondent on the Hill.
"One of the things that I think we have that’s unique is that I’m working every day as our network’s reporter on Capitol Hill," says Hunt, who also has a master's in sociology from St. John's College in Cambridge in England.
"Day-in-day-out I’m talking to these members of Congress, Senators. And that is kind of a unique point of view that gives me a window into things that I can then use to bring sharp insights and different interviews to the show."
Hunt, who recently married NBC "Meet the Press" senior digital producer Matt Rivera in May, doesn't have many full days off in covering Congress on weekdays and hosting a two-hour Sunday program during an unpredictable Trump administration that oftentimes stretches busy news cycles into the weekend.
"I do think finding time to rest your mind is important in this news cycle, and I try to carve out time to do that," she explains. "Luckily, I have an extraordinarily supportive husband who also does work in the news business. So, he’s very understanding and willing to work with the demands of my schedule."
"But NBC has also been very helpful and supportive so far in trying to make sure that I’m able to strike the right balance."
"Kasie DC" airs Sundays on MSNBC at 7 p.m. ET.