Melissa Harris-Perry’s TV Career Self-Immolation…
Prospective TV hosts, pay attention. For today we offer you a prime example of not what to do if you want to maintain a career in TV and you are not a top tier talent. Melissa Harris-Perry’s public (and private) response to her MSNBC situation is a textbook example of TV career self-immolation.
This type of behavior is more likely to happen with people brought into the TV system from outside than classically trained career-ists and is more likely to happen with ideologues than non-ideologues. Harris-Perry, it can be argued, falls into both camps and unlike a Keith Olbermann or a Rachel Maddow is not a top tier talent. Realistically, she can’t afford to do what she’s done if she wanted a TV career.
Maybe she didn’t want a TV career, in which case she could afford to burn her bridge with MSNBC. Certainly, putting what’s happened recently into such such incendiary terminology, first privately and then publicly, qualifies as bridge burning.
It certainly gives MSNBC all the ammunition it needs to kill her show off; thus this very public reaction…
In this exciting and unpredictable presidential primary season, many of our daytime programs have been temporarily upended by breaking political coverage, including M.H.P. This reaction is really surprising, confusing and disappointing.
That last sentence is the PR speak equivalent of “don’t let the door hit you on the way out”.
It also allows the network to leak to TVNewser…
Sources tells TVNewser the discord between Harris-Perry, who during the week is a professor at Wake Forest University, has been going on for months.
This allows the network to re-frame the storyline from Harris-Perry’s version of “I’m being repressed” to one where Harris-Perry is a problem talent.
Whatever the truth is, one thing is certain. Two weeks of show pre-emptions because of the fever pitch of Campaign 2016 is a very small sample size to be making the claims she has made.
MSNBC is making its biggest most expensive push for campaign/politics coverage since the Bush/Gore Florida recount 16 years ago. Of course there are going to be pre-emptions. MSNBC’s weekday dayside lineup has been in constant turmoil for weeks. You don’t know who is going to show up when.
But one pattern has emerged from the chaos; the continued marginalization of what’s left of the network’s prior progressive lineup. Alex Wagner’s weekend show the network talked up when they killed off her M-Fr show? Anyone remember that one? When was the last time you saw Ronan Farrow? Chris Hayes’ profile has taken a big hit considering he still has a primetime show the network would supposedly want to take advantage of expanding the audience for. Meanwhile people like Steve Kornacki and Chris Jansing have seen their TV exposure go up, particularly the past few weeks. Jansing should not be any surprise because a) she’s good, but more importantly b) she was originally discovered by NBC News topper Andy Lack. Kornacki is more of a surprise and I find it telling to the point that I think he’s going to get a regular slot when this is all over.
On the other hand, whatever happened to Jose Diaz-Balart? Combine his disappearance from MSNBC the past few weeks with his higher exposure level on NBC News and it seems pretty clear his exposure level on MSNBC is going to be curtailed if not eliminated outright.
MSNBC is still a network in transition. The primary season is giving the network the cover to make adjustments and try things out that would otherwise be more noticeable/obvious.