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Will NBC’s Bet on Chelsea Clinton Pay Off?

Five months into her employment with NBC News, BuzzFeed looks at what Chelsea Clinton has brought to the network, and what she hasn’t. “So far, she’s only done three Making A Difference segments in five months,” writes Michael Hastings.

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.

That line doesn’t play anymore, now that she’s entered the family business of living in public. “What’s she giving us?” one NBC executive, who sees Chelsea regularly, asks. “There’s that wall that needs to be torn down. She sounds like a smart and intelligent woman, but there are lots of smart and intelligent women.”

I did find one defender of Chelsea inside NBC. “Everyone needs to get a grip,” says this high level executive. “She’s hardworking, she’s taking it very seriously. She really wants to genuinely do these Making a Difference pieces. She knows she’s a lightening rod. When people write nasty things, she takes the lumps.” After all the bad press during the roll out, there were fears Chelsea was going to pack it in. Instead, she decided to tough it out. “I respect that,” says the NBC insider.

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