Andrew Lack Interview…

Variety’s Brian Steinberg interviews NBC News toppo Andrew Lack…

Now executives are considering an expansion of “Morning Joe,” MSNBC’s early-day programming block featuring Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. “It’s on at 6 to 9 a.m. in the eastern time zone. It isn’t really seen as much in Los Angeles as we’d like to to be – in Los Angeles, where it’s 3 a.m., or San Francisco or Seattle,” Lack explained. “I’m just looking at ways to extend some of the good work that Joe and Mika are doing and turn it around, expand it.” A decision on how to proceed has not been finalized, Lack said. “In my view, it is the most influential program in cable news in the morning, and I think it’s missing an opportunity in the west.”

While recent moves have focused more on programs that directly play off the headlines, Lack said the network could run other types of shows during the day. NBC News, he said, has a natural facility for covering breaking events. “That’s what we do and MSNBC was missing some of that, and now it isn’t,” he noted, But that is not the only theme that could show up in MSNBC programming: “We’ve got a lot of programming ideas” that are in the testing phase, he said, declining to elaborate further.

I said this already but it bears repeating…

Extending Morning Joe is not the solution. I get the West Coast argument but that’s what DVRs are for. For most of MSNBC’s existence nobody ever cared about the west coast in mornings. If a show like Imus (or Morning Joe) aired from 3-6 PST, nobody thought about extending it longer. Admittedly they couldn’t in Imus’ case but it would have been a mistake to do so if they could have. Here’s why…

Morning Joe is based on talking head analysis and the comments and opinions of the hosts and panelists. That’s its brand. But for cable news, 6am PST onwards is not the time when you want to be emphasizing that format because the news cycle starts heating up, especially the breaking news cycle. News and Morning Joe are like oil and water. They don’t mix well at all.

What’s MSNBC going to do if they extend Morning Joe and breaking news heats up or the news cycle is heavy? Disrupt the very thing that makes Morning Joe what it is? Conversely, if MSNBC opts to shelve the news cycle and what’s going on in the country until after the show is over, wouldn’t the network be seen as abandoning news…a meme the network can ill-afford to cultivate as it continues to try and reassert news as its brand in dayside?

There is no good play here if MSNBC extends Morning Joe. Either news suffers at the expense of extending the Morning Joe brand or Morning Joe’s brand suffers at the expense of news (and presumably the appearance of Brian Willians if it is breaking news) disrupting the very thing that makes Morning Joe the show it is.

3 Responses to “Andrew Lack Interview…”

  1. I’ve said this before as well, and it also bares repeating, but a good deal of MJ is repeated coverage of earlier segments and I expect an extra hour will include many repeated segments from the first three hours.

    On the plus side any show that pre-empts news cycle coverage is a good thing IMO.

  2. […] ICN: Why another hour of Morning Joe leaves MSNBC worse than it is now. […]

  3. Imus was a 6-10 show on radio and MSNBC occasionally ran it until 10am. They also occasionally dumped out of it at 8am when there was breaking news (Hurricane Isabel).

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