Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti announced Friday that they were leaving the Hill, where they helmed the popular morning show Rising, and going independent. It seemed like a shock, considering the Hill‘s YouTube subscriber count ballooned with Krystal and Saagar in front of the cameras. But sources close to the show tell Cockburn that the duo’s departure was a long time coming.
The problem may have been political. Krystal and Saagar started cohosting Rising together two years ago and began covering populist issues from a left and right perspective, focusing on areas of agreement between the two sides of the political spectrum. The pair earned a New York Times media profile and appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience. While viewers kept coming back for Krystal and Saagar’s independent streak, the Hill was apparently not so pleased. A source described the outlet as ‘controlling’, explaining that certain guests and topics were frequently nixed by upper management.
The Hill ‘consistently tried to undermine Krystal and Saagar’, the source said, which ultimately led to a series of contract disputes. A major area of contention was the fact that Krystal and Saagar were not allowed to talk about their other projects (both host separate podcasts) on their own show.
Krystal and Saagar released a new video discussing why they left the Hill on Tuesday but did not get into the specifics of the contract issues. Instead they cited a desire to wade into the independent media landscape and move to a subscription-based model. The Hill has not been as gracious. The outlet scrubbed Krystal and Saagar’s goodbye video to the Rising audience from its YouTube channel with no explanation. Perhaps they were aghast at the number of viewers commenting that Krystal and Saagar’s departure meant they were going to unsubscribe from the channel.
The Hill will continue to produce Rising with new hosts — the Intercept‘s Ryan Grim and the Federalist‘s Emily Jashinsky. Krystal and Saagar will keep hosting their own podcasts and will be co-hosting a new show called Breaking Points. Cockburn is interested to see what the pair puts out free of the Hill‘s corporate influence.