NBC News in a Comcast World…

Variety’s Paul J. Gough, and there’s a name I haven’t cited here in too long a time, writes about NBC News in the new Comcast World Order…

Amid the turmoil at the NBC broadcast network, NBC News has remained solid. Despite the defection of Katie Couric to CBS, the retirement of Tom Brokaw and the death of Tim Russert, “Today,” “NBC Nightly News” and “Meet the Press” have remained on top of the ratings. MSNBC, once an also-ran in the cable wars, has found its competitive footing thanks to the leftward tilt driven by the success of Olbermann’s nightly “Countdown” broadcast.

That void in MSNBC’s lineup now presents an immediate challenge to Capus and MSNBC prexy Phil Griffin to maintain the cabler’s momentum with the personalities now peppering the cable news net, chiefly Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell and Ed Schultz.

Susan Crawford, a Cardozo Law School professor who is writing a book about the NBC-Comcast merger, says she expects no immediate change in NBC News.

“I think Comcast will see it’s in its best interest to maintain the status quo at NBC,” she says.

That status quo includes keeping MSNBC’s liberal posture.

“It would be wrong to say that Olbermann’s exit represents a change in programming philosophy,” Cochran says. “At the same time, this demonstrates that no matter how good the ratings, NBC News executives will determine when a host has crossed the line.”

NBC News declined to comment for this story, as did Comcast Corp., which until the deal closes has no operational control over NBC.

Certainly Comcast is saying all the right things. Burke was at the NBC News upfront presentation last week, and spent 20 minutes backstage talking with MSNBC host Maddow.

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8 Responses to “NBC News in a Comcast World…”

  1. Interesting bit on Reliable Sources this morning I hadn’t seen reported before. Howie said Ed Schultz was told to drop the psycho-talk segment from his show. He didn’t say who told him to get rid of the bit but it wasn’t voluntary.

    My thought is that the big losers in this new more civil MSNBC will be Ed & Dylan who tend to rattle the cage more than LOD, Cenk, JS and Rachael.

    Both hosts have anger as the bases of their shows and like KO an inability to take instruction well.

    I wonder how long either will put up with restrictions before someone blows.

  2. I saw someone comment on MSNBC.com that Comcast will mess with MSNBC because it is a right-wing entity. That’s B.S. Comcast wouldn’t mess with a successful formula and it isn’t a right-wing company. CEO Brian Roberts gave to a lot of money to Democrats this last election cycle and in 2006 Company donations were nearly 50-50. I’ve been researching Comcast’s donations and I’m seeing a lot of D’s and R’s.

    Comcast cares more about making money than who is in charge. They way some people are talking, it’s as if Rupert Murdoch is running MSNBC now.

  3. I agree josh. The psycho-talk decision seems to be more about a change in tone rather than a change in ideology. That’s why I don’t worry about MSNBC being neutered by Comcast.

  4. Actually, if Schultz is to be believed, the dumping of ‘psycho talk’ was because the suits decided it doesn’t work at 10:00 pm.

  5. “Actually, if Schultz is to be believed, the dumping of ‘psycho talk’ was because the suits decided it doesn’t work at 10:00 pm.”

    That sounds like a rationalization by either Schultz or the suits. It makes more sense that p-t would work better at the later hour; at least to me.

  6. The “rationalization” works for me. Chris Matthews’ histrionics would be more jarring at that hour, too. I’ve noticed Ed has calmed his voice down, too, although that may be a natural result of the time of day. He has a long stretch between his radio and TV gigs now.

  7. ^Interesting comments and I tend to agree.
    It remains to be seen what “direction” that all of these added Network outlets will go under their new masters. Remember, Comcast serves its’ shareholders and an excellent return on investment is goal number one.

  8. News World…

    […]NBC News in a Comcast World… « Inside Cable News[…]…

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