Karen Finney: The Next Carlos Watson on MSNBC?
MSNBC has been giving Karen Finney, former press secretary for Hillary Clinton, a looksie this morning. Finney has been a regular on MSNBC’s pundit circuit with heavy rotation on Morning Meeting among other shows. But she hasn’t been put in the role of interviewer. Today she is. Several times this morning Alex Witt has handed off to Finney to host a segment of the news program. As this is not normal practice at MSNBC. In fact I can’t ever recall seeing anything like this before. This has to be a not so below the radar looksie at Finney by the network. Putting Finney on Saturday to test her interviewing chops instead of a weekday is less risky and carries a lower level profile than doing it during M-Fr dayside when there are more eyeballs and the fight for airtime is greater.
It’s clear Finney is being evaluated. But for what? Is MSNBC looking to do a repeat of the Carlos Watson experiment where a non-anchor/journalist takes over an hour of MSNBC M-Fr daytime? I hope not. It was a mistake then and it would still be a mistake now. Watson came and went so fast though, faster than one would think possible given he was part of MSNBC’s July reboot that included paring Shuster and Hall, dropping Norah O’Donnell as M-Fr anchor, and debuting Morning Meeting and Dr. Nancy, so his quick departure raised eyebrows. It was so sudden that I’m not 100% certain it was purely a ratings thing (Snyderman’s ratings were arguably worse) and there may have been some behind the scenes thing that came up which caused the network to drop Watson. In which case, the likelihood greatly increases that the network is looking to give Finney a bigger more substantial role at the network as a possible replacement.