Ronan Farrow: Reboot…

Variety’s Brian Steinberg writes about what MSNBC wants to do with Ronan Farrow to try and turn around his show…

“It’s about diving in deep,” says Farrow during a recent interview while reporting in Paris. His goal is to travel to places where big stories erupt, then find underreported facets, like discovering individuals whose lives have been changed by the news. He really enjoys “finding the human piece to tell the bigger story and push forward the narrative,” he says.

MSNBC executives acknowledge Farrow’s daytime program has not won in the viewership game, but suggest they see potential, both for TV and for grabbing attention from viewers who watch the news in new ways. Farrow has proven skilled in nabbing interviews with everyone from Mitt Romney to Angelina Jolie to Jeannette Bougrab, the partner of slain Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier, who gave a heart-wrenching account of life in the days after the terrorist attack on that publication. “I worked every angle and every connection that I had and ever worked with in government, and knew through random online connections,” Farrow says of his work to secure interviews while in France.

These kinds of exchanges, executives suggest, spread quickly on social media and generate digital impressions that are likely to be valuable as viewers rely on connections other than cable subscriptions to gain access to video. In 2013, according to the Pew Research Journalism Project, 82% of Americans said they got news on a desktop or laptop, while 54% said they got news on a mobile device. Pew said 35% reported that they get news in this way “frequently” on their desktop or laptop, and 21% from a mobile phone or tablet.

“We have to look beyond cable ratings,” says Izzy Povich, vice president of talent and development at MSNBC, in an interview, adding , “Ronan is somebody who really can be a content provider on different platforms, and I do think that’s the future of where we are headed.”


3 Responses to “Ronan Farrow: Reboot…”

  1. MSNBC needs to stop grabbing random people off the street to fill a perceived demographic void.

    They were criticized for being too white so they gave Sharpton a show. They wanted younger viewers so they grabbed Ronan Farrow.

    I can’t imagine very many people thought either of these were a good idea.

    To say that that place is poorly run would be an understatement.

  2. Pretty good puff piece. Farrow did well in France and keeping him on the road as much as possible is probably a good strategy going forward.

    I still think he should be moved to Weekends as Dayside just isn’t the best place for his talents. He has improved his studio on air performance skills greatly since his rocky start, but it is on location where he shines.

    When he was hired I said here I thought he was training to become Hillary’s spokesperson (and that may still prove to be true) but I’ve been surprised how fast he’s learned how to be a good reporter and a competent host.

  3. This article is a little incoherent. It went on and on about digital reach. It would be nice to have some numbers so readers can quantify that reach.

    For MSNBC’s sports fans, MSNBC has a Super Bowl Special –

    MSNBC: On Friday, January 30, Chris Matthews, Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough, Willie Geist and Ronan Farrow head to Phoenix with special live broadcasts of Hardball at 7 p.m. ET followed by a special two-hour primetime edition of Morning Joe.

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