Olbermann vs. MSNBC: Oh, it’s on Baby!

Well this is…um…awkward. Here I go earlier today writing a post about why I’m not going to be covering Current TV and what happens? Keith Olbermann pulls a fast one that forces me to write about Countdown on Current. Figures…


That’s all I have to say.

Oh…ok…I’ll elaborate…

Countdown is not going to be an hour long program. An hour is 60 minutes. Countdown will be a 63 minute long program. And why would Olbermann do that? To block viewers from going over to Rachel Maddow’s show right away, that’s why. Considering Current’s viewership levels it amounts to only the slightest of paper cuts but the symbolism is what matters. If Countdown viewership grows to even 1/2 its previous viewership levels on MSNBC, and that’s a big “if” at the moment given Current’s spotty placement and carriage levels, the damage to Maddow will start to have an impact.

Oddly enough this development has produced a whiny kind of backlash on Twitter with viewers tsk, tsk-ing Olbermann for this development. But I think it’s a brilliant move. On paper at least. War has been declared and Olbermann will not be taking prisoners. This was driven home when Keith brought on on Kos to act as Olbermann’s ventriloquist’s dummy and trashed MSNBC in general and Joe Scarborough in particular.

Update: There seems to be some question about whether the 63 minute tactic will actually work from a Nielsen point of view. Someone noted on Twitter that Nielsen allows for a seven minute grace period and that only after seven minutes will the damage actually count. I’m afraid I’m not up on my Nielsen minutiae to that extent. Anybody know the definitive answer?

18 Responses to “Olbermann vs. MSNBC: Oh, it’s on Baby!”

  1. this move puts Olby up there on the Mt. Olympus of d-baggery

  2. Yeah, that’s the ticket, Keith; make it so the DVR cuts off the only interesting part of your first show. Genius.

  3. bushleaguer Says:

    If Scarborough is smart, he’ll won’t take the bait and just ignore Olbermann and the Daily Kos guy. There’s nothing more that Olbermann would probably want than a good ‘ol fashion cable feud.

    As for Maddow and the run-over, it’s funny how Olbermann used to toss over to her show when he was on MSNBC and introduce her as “my good friend.” My take is that Olbermann wants Maddow to go to his new network and is basically saying, once Maddow’s contract ends, “you’re either with me or against me.” If I were Maddow I’d use the situation to score a bigger contract and stay with MSNBC. Olbermann would flip the moment Maddow tries to bring a Republican on her show to have a cordial debate.

  4. Josh Kaib Says:

    I’d like to know why the show is not in HD. I guess Current doesn’t have an HD version, but that’s pretty lame considering the channel’s younger audience. As nice as the studio looks in photographs, it isn’t so great on TV.

  5. Markos blatantly lied about Scarborough’s ratings, and Olbermann let him get away with it. Yep, Keith is back.

  6. bushleaguer Says:

    JS – yeah, I thought that Morning Joe had been beating AM on CNN consistently for a long time now.

  7. It’s beats CNN, it’s been edging out HLN lately (see May ratings), and of course it’s WAY ahead of CNBC.

  8. Yep Morning Joe is in second , I guess the guy was using 2007 first time ratings

  9. Josh Kaib Says:

    Olby taking shots at Scarborough. How original! Based on his channel’s positioning, I expected him to go after more worthy adversaries, like RuPaul or the Dog Whisperer.

  10. His next target: Rita Cosby..

  11. bushleaguer Says:

    Well I got to view the entire show (Current TV must not have shown much before Olbermann arrived…the show is re-run every other hour it seems) and if Olbermann is going to act as if he is “free” and has removed the yolk of the MSNBC brass, then he will have to do better with his show. Beyond the hits against Scarborough, I didn’t see any difference between what he was being allowed to do at MSNBC and what he’s doing now.

  12. joeremi Says:

    I hear ya, BL..the show has the same problem it’s had for years: Pick a topic; run the segment in your head; it’ll be the same as the show. We know what KO’s gonna say..we know who his guests are and what they will say. What’s the point in watching?

  13. Josh Kaib Says:

    BL, the show is replayed the same times that it was on MSNBC.

    I’ll be interested to see if Olby keeps bleeding into the next hour for a few minutes. If he does, it is pure dbaggery on his part.

  14. He’s stated on twitter he’s going 63 minutes every night.

  15. stevemg Says:

    Olbermann needs a Republican in the White House.

    Otherwise, he’ll end up like Walter Winchell handing out his stories to people walking by on the street. Having guests on to act as surrogates to attack his personal demons is pretty much the same thing.

    Ironic, ain’t it? A Republican President might just be the thing that saves Keith Olbermann’s career.

    Al Gore’s TV venture too since if KO fails, the whole shebang falls as well.

  16. bushleaguer Says:

    Josh – they are replaying Countdown on Current during the daytime repeatedly (not saying that’s bad considering that they seem to only have 2 other shows on the network).

    Joe – exactly. You’d think with a fresh start that Olbermann would want to shake things up a bit and not be so predictable. What makes Maddow’s show so good in my opinion is that she is willing to have Republicans on and, more importantly, have a civil debate. To Olbermann it’s giving a platform to the “enemy” but Maddow sees the opportunity for what it is – confronting the opposing view head-on and working to win the argument without it devolving into talking over and past one another. Olbermann’s show would be so much better if he didn’t have a string of guests who agreed completely with the premise of his lead-in.

  17. joeremi Says:

    It should be called “I Agree with Keith Olbermann”.

  18. 99 Percent Movement…

    […]Olbermann vs. MSNBC: Oh, it’s on Baby! « Inside Cable News[…]…

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