Jacob Soboroff leaves HuffPost Live; third host to depart in two months

jacob-soboroff-leaves-huffpost-live-third-host-depart-two-months
Jacob Soboroff. (jacobsoboroff.com)
Tweet Share on Facebook Share on Tumblr Print

HuffPost Live, The Huffington Post's ambitious online video network run by the site's founding editor, Roy Sekoff, has lost its third host in two months.

Jacob Soboroff, who's been with HuffPost Live since it launched, told colleagues this afternoon in an email obtained by Capital that today is his last day.

"On Friday I'll be starting a gig in TV land," he wrote, without elaborating. "This has been the best year of my life thanks in no small part to working with all of you."

Soboroff declined to comment. But his departure follows those of Alicia Menendez and Abby Huntsman, HuffPost Live's two most recognizable faces, who also recently resigned to take jobs with traditional TV outlets. Their exits suggest the infant network is a victim of its own success: It can find and promote new talent, but seems to have trouble keeping it.

MORE ON CAPITAL

ADVERTISEMENT

"This is a good sign for HuffPost Live," said one insider who requested anonymity because the source wasn't authorized to speak publicly. "It shows it's a platform that mainstream outlets clearly have an eye on."

Just last week, Huntsman, daughter of former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, revealed she was taking a job co-hosting MSNBC's 3 p.m. show, "The Cycle." In May, Menendez, daughter of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, left for a job at Fusion, ABC and Univision's joint news and lifestyle network aimed at Hispanics. Both had become regular talking heads on the cable and broadcast news networks prior to joining HuffPost Live full time.

Earlier this year, Capital wondered whether HuffPost Live would propel up-and-coming talent like Huntsman and Menendez "to cable or network-news fame? Or can Sekoff make HuffPost Live important enough to create its own stars who will stick around for years to come?"

Retaining talent, of course, will be crucial to HuffPost Live if it is to reach eyeballs beyond TV-news recruiters.

The network is a costly and well-staffed operation that produces 12 hours of live and social-media-enabled streaming video every weekday. It launched last August with much fanfare and to generally favorable reviews. Advertisers like Cadillac and Verizon have renewed and company executives have said it attracts more than 2 million monthly viewers on average.

But despite a number of newsmaking segments and high-profile interviews, HuffPost Live still hasn't managed to regularly break into the conversation on hot-button topics, raising the question of whether it will eventually flame out or scale back like other HuffPost initiatives, such as its iPad magazine.

Sekoff remains confident.

"From the moment we launched, it was clear that our innovative approach to programming provided a great platform for our team of young, talented on-air hosts and that traditional TV outlets, old and new, would take notice. And they have," he said through a HuffPost Live spokesperson. "We take it as a compliment. Meanwhile, we’ll keep doing what we do: creating the future of live streaming video."

The spokesperson said HuffPost Live is planning to hire replacements.