Lead Trial Balloon…

Portfolio’s Jeff Bercovici floats Bill Maher’s name as a possible host for MSNBC’s 10pm place.

It’s widely known in the cable news world that the third-place network has a longstanding interest in Maher, who now hosts a weekly current-events chat program, Real Time, on HBO. He’s an obvious choice, having hosted his own daily talk show, Politically Incorrect, until ABC canceled him in 2002, a few months after the comedian made some poorly-received remarks about the Sept. 11 hijackers.

Though more libertarian than strictly liberal, Maher’s politics make him a good fit with MSNBC’s audience, which has grown in direct proportion to the network’s enthusiasm for the Democratic party. One caveat: Maher would probably be expensive (although Chris Matthews’s recent pay cut, from $5 million a year to around $2 million, frees up some cash for that).

If Bercovici really believes this he doesn’t understand Maher’s situation enough to realize that MSNBC would be a demotion for him. Maher has it made on HBO. He gets to say any dirty word he likes whenever he likes. He gets to put on humor that would never get past NBC’s Standards and Practices. Plus he only has to work part of the year. The rest of the year he gets to do his standup routine or make a movie or whatever the hell he wants. Would an MSNBC option give him that kind of platform? No way.

So there’s no chance in hell of Maher coming to MSNBC. Unless he gets fired by HBO.

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7 Responses to “Lead Trial Balloon…”

  1. That would last about as long as Connie Chung and husband Morley lasted. If you’re going to put a comedian there I’d prefer Lewis Black or Whoppi Goldberg.

  2. bushleaguer Says:

    Matthews was making 5 million a year???

    As for Maher, it would be a major victory for MSNBC but Maher wouldn’t leave HBO (as noted) and MSNBC probably doesn’t have the $$ that Maher would demand. It would be interesting to see “politically incorrect” reincarnated, but there’s no way the network will be able to lure him away from HBO.

    I do like the idea of MSNBC finding someone that is not currently on their roster, however, as I can’t think of anyone they currently have that could create a successful 10pm show.

  3. Michael Musto!

    I should probably ban you for life for that comment…

  4. fanofgrendel Says:

    MSNBC should put Howard Dean on at 10:00 along with Robert Gibbs as a regular guest. Dean’s out of a job right now. Instead of “The Spin Stops Here”, he could open each show with a big yell.

  5. cwriteandtheride Says:

    It’s too sad that they don’t have anyone on their current roster of “talent” to fill that spot. With that said, Allison Stewart might be a good fit. But then again, she is far too much like Keith and Rachel and I have had more than enough of their snarky, “I am so very cool” attitude/delivery.

  6. Michelle Bernard! She doesn’t even have to talk…I’ll watch anyway.

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