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.

3 Responses to “Melissa Harris-Perry’s TV Career Self-Immolation…”

  1. Eh! Has no one noticed that every show on MSNBC has gone virtually 100% political in the last six months. Even the last two mass shootings barely got a mention. The only host with the pull or interest to do non-POTUS horse-race stories is Maddow and those are mostly about Flint.

    I’ve never liked MHP, or JD-B and Sharpton for that matter, so seeing her make a fool of herself is not a bad story in my books. My hope is they all disappear into the TV ether after the election is over. If they had to use another ‘ethnic’ host then Joy Reid is a much better choice

    As for Jansing her return is no surprise. Jansing is a great reporter and will return to her main job at the WH; when this gig, impersonating Charles Kuralt, is done.

    Kornacki’s rise is no surprise to me. He’s a rising star at MSNBC; a kinda cross between Chuck Todd and Nate Silver; and his political analysis is the best on the network next to Todd and the ‘With All Due Respect’ boys.

    The other big winner with all this shuffling of shows, despite all the whining by the media press, is Morning Joe which seems to be on seven days a week now.

  2. speedking70 Says:

    Using MHP’s “logic”(ha!) then one must assume Joy Ann Reid is a “mammy”, “token” or “brown bobble head”. Gee, why do I get the feeling that only Skippy Hayes will lament this lancing of this Saturday morning boil.

    Red Eye has been pre-empted at least 20 times this election season. Which is clearly anti-Semitism and Anti-Catholicism at play!

  3. Far be it from MSNBC to air a show hosted by a known loon instead of covering what passes these days for legitimate news.I don’t like all the coverage but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand it and for a struggling property like MSNBC it might mean someone is actually watching the channel,which is what MSNBC cares about far more than Perry or her generally heavily biased looney tunes.The news channels have decided wall to wall political coverage with over the top fake gravitas equals revenue so get used to it.

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