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How Much Does Msnbc Pay Contributors? An In-Depth Look At Pay Rates

If you’ve ever wondered how much money MSNBC pays the people who provide commentary and analysis on their programs, you’re not alone. In a world where some news contributors earn millions per year, there is a lot of curiosity around how much networks like MSNBC compensate their on-air talent.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Contributors can earn anywhere from $50 to $500 per appearance. However, the exact amount that MSNBC pays its contributors varies depending on a number of factors, including their experience, expertise, and the frequency of their appearances.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down all the factors that impact how much MSNBC pays contributors, from their level of celebrity status to the specifics of their contracts.

The Range of MSNBC Contributor Salaries

High-paid contributors making $500 or more per appearance

At the top end of the spectrum, MSNBC pays some of its high-profile contributors around $500 or more per appearance.

These individuals are often well-known figures in the media industry, with years of experience and a significant following. Their salaries reflect their expertise and value to the network.

While specific names and exact figures may not be publicly disclosed, it is not uncommon for top contributors to command such high salaries.

Mid-level contributors earn $250 – $450 per appearance

Mid-level contributors at MSNBC can expect to earn anywhere between $250 – $450 per appearance on the show. These contributors often have a strong background in journalism or politics and provide valuable insights and analysis on various topics.

Their salaries are reflective of their expertise and the level of contribution they bring to the network. While they may not make as much as the high-paid contributors, their earnings are still significant and well-deserved.

Mid-level contributors

Less known contributors make $50 – $200 per appearance

Lesser-known contributors at MSNBC typically earn between $50 to $200 per appearance. These individuals are often newer to the industry or are experts in niche areas. While their salaries may be lower compared to high-paid or mid-level contributors, they still play an important role in providing diverse perspectives and expertise to the network.

Their contributions should not be underestimated, as they bring unique value to the programming and help to create a well-rounded media outlet.

It is important to note that these salary ranges are based on industry estimates and may vary depending on factors such as experience, popularity, and contract negotiations. MSNBC, like any other media organization, values the contributions of its contributors and compensates them accordingly.

For more information on media industry salaries, you can visit reputable websites like or which provide insights into salary ranges for various professions.

Key Factors That Impact MSNBC Contributor Pay

When it comes to determining how much MSNBC pays its contributors, several key factors come into play. These factors are crucial in determining the pay rates and can vary from one contributor to another.

Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the key factors that impact MSNBC contributor pay:

1. TV Profile and Celebrity Status

One of the major factors that influence the pay rates for MSNBC contributors is their TV profile and celebrity status. Contributors who are well-known in the industry or have a significant following tend to command higher pay rates.

This is because their presence on MSNBC can attract more viewers and boost the network’s ratings.

2. Frequency of Appearances

The frequency of appearances also plays a role in determining the pay rates for MSNBC contributors. Contributors who appear more frequently on the network, whether as regular guests or as hosts of their own shows, are likely to earn more.

This is because their consistent presence contributes to the network’s programming and helps build a loyal viewership.

3. Exclusivity of Contract

The exclusivity of the contract between MSNBC and its contributors is another factor that affects pay rates. If a contributor has an exclusive contract with the network, meaning they cannot appear on other news channels, their pay rate may be higher compared to contributors who have non-exclusive contracts.

This exclusivity ensures that the contributors remain committed to MSNBC and its programming.

4. Experience and Credentials

The experience and credentials of a contributor also play a significant role in determining their pay rate. Contributors who have extensive experience in journalism or have specialized knowledge in a particular field may be compensated at a higher rate due to their expertise.

MSNBC values the insights and expertise that experienced contributors bring to their programming and is willing to pay accordingly.

It’s important to note that the exact pay rates for MSNBC contributors are not publicly disclosed, and can vary based on negotiations and individual agreements. The network takes into account various factors to determine fair compensation for their contributors.

For more information on pay rates, it’s best to refer to official sources or reach out to MSNBC directly.

Experience and Credentials

Negotiating an MSNBC Contract

When it comes to negotiating a contract with MSNBC as a contributor, there are several key factors to consider. By understanding the intricacies of the negotiation process, you can position yourself for a successful and lucrative agreement.

Leveraging your personal brand

One important aspect of negotiating an MSNBC contract is leveraging your personal brand.

MSNBC values contributors who have a strong and unique voice, as well as a dedicated following. By showcasing your expertise and distinct viewpoint, you can demonstrate the value you bring to the network.

Additionally, highlighting your previous media appearances, publications, or relevant achievements can help you stand out during negotiations. This provides MSNBC with tangible evidence of your credibility and can increase your bargaining power.

Knowing your audience value

Understanding the value you bring to MSNBC’s audience is crucial in negotiating a contract.

By researching the network’s demographics and target audience, you can tailor your pitch to align with their interests and needs. This shows MSNBC that you have a deep understanding of their viewership and can provide content that resonates with them.

Furthermore, being able to demonstrate your ability to engage with and grow an audience is highly valuable. Whether through social media following, website traffic, or other metrics, showcasing your audience reach can strengthen your negotiating position.

Securing a multi-network deal

Another strategy to consider when negotiating with MSNBC is securing a multi-network deal. If you already have contracts with other networks or media outlets, this can be advantageous as it demonstrates demand for your expertise.

By positioning yourself as a sought-after contributor, you can negotiate higher pay rates and additional benefits. This can include increased exposure, cross-promotion opportunities, or even the ability to appear on multiple networks simultaneously.

It is important to note that negotiation outcomes can vary based on individual circumstances and the current landscape of the media industry. 

How MSNBC Pay Compares to Other Networks

When it comes to compensation for contributors, MSNBC, like other major news networks, offers varying pay rates based on factors such as experience, expertise, and the frequency of appearances.

Let’s take a closer look at how MSNBC’s pay compares to other networks.

Fox News contributor pay

Fox News is known for its conservative-leaning content, and their contributor pay reflects this. According to various reports, Fox News contributors can earn anywhere from $500 to $2,000 per appearance.

However, it’s important to note that these figures can vary depending on the contributor’s role and level of expertise. Some high-profile contributors may negotiate higher rates, while others may receive lower pay.

Fox News

CNN contributor pay

CNN, on the other hand, is often seen as more centrist in its reporting. CNN contributor pay is reported to range from $500 to $1,500 per appearance.

As with Fox News, these rates can vary depending on the contributor’s experience and the nature of their contributions. CNN also has a tiered system, where regular contributors may receive higher pay than occasional or guest contributors.

Network News pay

When comparing MSNBC to the major network news channels, such as ABC, CBS, and NBC, it’s important to consider the differences in audience size and reach. Network news contributors tend to have broader exposure, which can translate into higher pay rates.

According to industry sources, network news contributors can earn anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 or more per appearance.

It’s worth noting that these figures are not set in stone and can vary depending on various factors, including the contributor’s negotiating power, the nature of their contributions, and the overall budget allocated for contributor compensation.

Additionally, these rates can change over time as networks adjust their programming and budgets.

To get a more accurate understanding of the current pay rates for MSNBC contributors, it’s best to consult reputable sources such as industry publications or news outlets that cover media and broadcasting.

Websites like Broadcasting & Cable or Adweek often provide insights and analysis on the media industry, including contributor pay rates.

MSNBC Pay Controversies and Lawsuits

MSNBC, like many media organizations, has not been immune to controversies and lawsuits surrounding pay rates for its contributors. Several allegations have been made regarding gender and racial pay gaps, as well as contract disputes over airtime and exclusivity.

Gender and racial pay gap allegations

Some former and current contributors at MSNBC have raised concerns about a potential gender and racial pay gap within the network. These allegations suggest that women and people of color may be receiving lower compensation compared to their male and white counterparts.

While no official statistics have been released by MSNBC, these allegations have sparked discussions about the importance of pay equity and fair compensation in the media industry.

It is important to note that these allegations are not unique to MSNBC and are prevalent in the industry as a whole. Media organizations have faced increasing scrutiny regarding pay disparities, prompting conversations about the need for transparency and equal pay for equal work.

Contract disputes over airtime and exclusivity

In addition to allegations of pay gaps, MSNBC has also faced contract disputes with some of its contributors. These disputes often revolve around issues of airtime and exclusivity, with contributors seeking more exposure and opportunities within the network.

Contributors may negotiate their contracts with MSNBC to secure more airtime for their appearances or to have exclusivity agreements that prevent them from appearing on rival networks. Disagreements can arise when contributors feel that they are not receiving the airtime or exclusivity they were promised, leading to legal battles and potential lawsuits.

While specific cases and details of these disputes may not be readily available, they highlight the complexities of contract negotiations in the media industry. Contributors, like any other professionals, seek fair compensation and opportunities to showcase their expertise and perspectives.

It is important to remember that each case is unique and may have different factors at play. However, the controversies and lawsuits surrounding pay rates at MSNBC emphasize the evolving conversations around fairness, equality, and transparency in the media industry.

For more information on the topic, you can visit MSNBC’s official website or refer to industry publications such as The Hollywood Reporter and Nieman Lab.


MSNBC compensates its contributors very well compared to some networks, with top talent earning 5-figure salaries annually.

However, the vast majority of contributors earn more modest fees ranging from tens to hundreds of thousands based on their profile and value to the network.

Understanding how MSNBC pay works can help perspective contributors better negotiate their contracts.

The next time you see your favorite MSNBC analyst or contributor on-screen, you’ll have a better sense of how well their commentary and insights are likely compensated.

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