After a two-year pandemic break, the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner is back. President Joe Biden is expected to attend the April 30 dinner—which raises money to support White House press coverage—at the Washington Hilton’s ballroom, resurrecting a tradition that former Pres. Donald Trump suspended while he was commander-in-chef.
Daily Show host Trevor Noah is the featured entertainer at this year’s dinner. The last time a comedian held court was Michelle Wolf in 2018. Wolf went after Trump administration officials, including then-White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, harder than many involved with the event liked, and the following year the WHCA decided to choose a historian, instead of an entertainer, to headline the event.
And the fact that the dinner has returned to Washington means the in-person soirees surrounding the event in our Nation’s Capital have returned as well.
Naturally, TVNewser has made the trip to Washington to attend and cover the festivities all weekend.
Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and NBCUniversal News Group had parties we attended Friday evening, with all attendees of both events required to be vaccinated, boosted, and test negative for the coronavirus within 24 hours of the event.
CAA held court at The Viceroy hotel Friday evening, while NBCU News Group hosted a gathering at its D.C. bureau, a stone’s throw from the U.S. Capitol.
NBCU News Group Chairman Cesar Conde opened up the bureau to roughly 300 Washingtonians, reporters, lawmakers, and fellow network execs. The bureau is home to 400 reporting staff for the News Group and it’s the first time the company has showed off the state-of-the-art space and studios.
“Over decades, we’ve created many memories at our former bureau at Nebraska Avenue,” Conde told attendees, “So, today is the beginning of a new chapter where we create history here at our new bureau for NBCUniversal News Group. I am so excited because we have been able to put all of the iconic brands of news for NBCUniversal under one roof.”
NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell attended the gathering, and added, “For us, for me personally, NBC, all of NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC, Telemundo, all of our local stations, Sky News, which is now as part of our family, it’s more than just a business for our company. Yes, it’s a great business for our company and it’s doing really well, but it’s a public service too. This is the beating heart of our company, and that’s why the bureau is so important.”
The gathering was very well-attended. In addition to Conde, and Shell, the D.C.-based NBC News on-air talent showed up in full force. Among those we spotted were Andrea Mitchell, Kristen Welker, Chuck Todd and his Meet the Press ep John Reiss, Peter Alexander, Kelly O’Donnell, Garrett Haake, Mike Memoli, NBC News D.C. bureau chief Ken Strickland, and more.
Additionally, MSNBC’s Jonathan Lemire, NBC News’ Ken Dilanian, new MSNBC host Symone Sanders, Jason Johnson, Joy Reid, Jacob Soboroff, Katie Phang, Telemundo’s evening news anchor Julio Vaqueiro, CNBC’s Eamon Javers, and the bosses, including NBC News president Noah Oppenheim, MSNBC president Rashida Jones, CNBC programming svp Dan Colarusso, Telemundo chairman Beau Ferrari, and Telemundo News evp Patsy Loris.
Outside of Conde, one of the most popular attendees wasn’t an NBC Newser (well, he was in a previous life). CNN boss Chris Licht attended the NBC News Group gathering, and received well-wishes from essentially all 300+ attendees. We spotted him chatting with Andrea Mitchell, Peter Alexander, Oppenheim, Karl, among others.
MSNBC’s Katy Tur attended, and was joined by her husband, CBS Mornings co-host Tony Dokoupil. ABC’s Jonathan Karl, CNN’s Jim Acosta, Brian (and Jamie) Stelter, and CNN D.C. bureau chief Sam Feist also made their way to the gathering.
After NBC, we made a pit-stop at CAA’s get-together, which was at an outdoor lounge named Dovetail at the Viceroy hotel. The powerhouse talent agency hosted a variety of media executives and on-air talent, including CBS Newsers Vlad Duthiers, Enrique Acevedo, Christina Ruffini, Alison Pepper and Face the Nation ep Mary Hager. A number of folks at the NBC News party stopped by the CAA party later. In addition to ABC’s Jonathan Karl, we spotted CNN’s Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy, Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich, NBC News boss Noah Oppenheim, Andrea Mitchell, and Peter Alexander.
Of course, Friday night represents the calm before the storm. Saturday will be far more action-packed. We’ll give you the low-down on who attended the 27th Annual WHC Garden Brunch on Saturday afternoon, ABC’s and CBS’ pre-parties, as well as Paramount’s and NBCUniversal’s after-parties.
We’ll also be present at this year’s dinner itself, so stay tuned for more coverage all weekend!