In Depth: NBC is Looking for Viewer Feedback on MSNBC…and Mulling a Return to POV Dayside Anchoring?
New News:VIPs survey out today and it’s a long one and it’s mostly all about MSNBC, the first time News:VIPs has done one mostly concerning that network. It’s a pretty comprehensive survey that covers a lot of territory but the information and slides forwarded to ICN indicate that it mostly pertains to areas related to MSNBC’s dayside news operation…
(click on slides to enlarge)
NBC is also interested in why viewers might change a channel to another network, in this case FNC. I’m told there was a similar question concerning CNN as well.
This slide is part of a longer survey that covers what viewers want from their news. Note the “I enjoy programs with an opinionated host rather than a program which presents me with just the facts of a story with an objective anchor” and the “I prefer news sources that share my point of view” and the “I enjoy news programs that have a host that has a point of view or opinion on the issues being discussed” choices. Add that to the “Anchor with a strong point of view” choice mentioned earlier and you start to wonder what NBC is thinking about in regards to MSNBC. It suggests to me that they’re still mulling going down that opinion dayside news path even after last year’s resounding ratings-reflective rebuke of a previous attempt at putting in POV anchors and shows on the dayside air. They wouldn’t be asking about these subjects if they weren’t still mulling doing yet another 180. Then again, this could all be related to what happens in the evenings and primetime and not at all related to dayside. There’s enough ambiguity in the survey questions for it to be interpreted either way.
The survey also concerns the subject of on air talent.
Not only are MSNBC’s talent roster surveyed but I’m told a good chunk of their on air contributors/analysts are surveyed on another page. But it’s the talent survey that has some really interesting tidbits because of who’s included and who is not included. Among the included list the biggest surprise is Karen Finney. Finney is not currently an MSNBC anchor, though she did do a stint one day on a weekend last year. After the Carlos Watson debacle and the January dayside reboot, to find Finney here is a real surprise. I have a feeling many respondents aren’t even going to be able to rate her since they’ve never seen her anchor and those that will rate her will rate her based on her current role as an analyst.
The other surprise, though not a surprise to me, is the inclusion of Lynn Berry. I’ve been watching Berry closely for a while now and am convinced she’ll be moved off of Early Today/First Look before the year is over. It’s not a state secret Berry has long ties with Jeff Zucker but that alone isn’t enough to move Berry off overnights. She’ll be moved off because she’s been solid so far when she’s filled in on MSNBC and the five times she’s done the news update desk on Weekend Today. Where she’s moved off to is the real question.
There’s one big name on this list that’s missing; David Shuster. This all but confirms that Shuster is not part of MSNBC’s future. The other name left off, even though she still shows up anchoring occasionally, is Norah O’Donnell. Too bad. This also is a huge signal that despite the wishes of some of the commenters here, O’Donnell will not be making a return to the anchor chair full time in the near future.