Roberts Out, Gura In…

Mediaite’s Justin Baragona writes, with some palace intrigue tossed in, that Thomas Roberts is out at MSNBC and Justin Gura is in. I knew about Gura because he tweeted it yesterday but the Roberts news I didn’t catch until today.

Yes, it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here but I’ve been bored out of my skull at the lack of interesting cable news angles that don’t involve Trump or Clinton. Which makes Baragona’s article whet my appetite…

Per an MSNBC Spokesperson: “Thomas Roberts has decided to leave MSNBC for other endeavors. He’s been a valued member of the NBC News and MSNBC family since 2010, and we’re thankful for his contributions and Emmy Award-winning coverage for the news division. We wish him success in his new adventure.”

This version of events runs counter to what Mediaite has heard which is that Roberts was made many unfulfilled promises and that MSNBC staffers are upset that Roberts, a very highly regarded colleague at MSNBC, has been forced out.

I do not find it surprising that Roberts may be feeling like the victim of unfulfilled promises. Network history is replete with the bodies of talent who got run over after being promised all kinds of stuff. I find it a bit more surprising that anyone would be shocked that he has been (allegedly) forced out. He lost his M-Fr gig and wound up on weekends. That’s a demotion, pure and simple. Banishment, at that point, becomes a much more realistic outcome.

Another thing to notice with this move is that it is just a weekend anchor job and yet we are told it was made by Lack directly not MSNBC president Phil Griffin, something that an official MSNBC source disputes.</blockquote.

This doesn't surprise me. Lack has his fingerprints all over MSNBC as he continues to bring NBC News and its cable offshoot tighter together.

There is heightened sensitivity surrounding Lack’s role since many inside the network believe Griffin will soon be replaced by his “number two,” former CNN showrunner Jonathan Wald. Wald, who was also hired directly by Lack, left CNN earlier this year to become the SVP of Programming and Development at MSNBC.

This would surprise me, mostly because NBC just renewed Griffin so it would look very odd to move him off after just having re-signed him. Why rehire a guy you really didn’t want to keep around? But NBC could try to disguise the switch as a “promotion” though it’s kind of difficult to promote someone from being a network head to a higher position precisely because there aren’t really any viable higher positions at NBC than network head.

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5 Responses to “Roberts Out, Gura In…”

  1. While Thomas Roberts along with Willie Geist are no doubt nice caring people. I always thought it was just a matter of time before they were both gone. (Of course Willie is still there…nodding approvingly to Joe Scarborough’s every word.)

    If there is a more bland person on a cable news channel than Thomas or Willie, I missed it.

    Not that I don’t feel bad that Mr. Roberts lost his job.

  2. I figured Roberts would be gone sooner or later when Brian Williams landed at MSNBC.

  3. “I figured Roberts would be gone sooner or later when Brian Williams landed at MSNBC.”

    ^^ Why would Brian Williams coming over to MSNBC have anything to do with Thomas Roberts being let go?

    MSNBC appears to have abandoned its earlier plan to drop partisan dayside/weekend hosts in favor of more balanced news reporting anchors (sorry Spud). Thomas Roberts, Tameron Hall, Greta van Susteren, Kate Snow are gone and Chris Jansing is almost gone. Alex Witt, Richard Lue, and Craig Melvin are all that remain.

    Now dayside/weekend hosting is in the hands of four groups: the newsreaders – Witt, Lue & Melvin; the partisans – Joy Reid, Sharpton Hugh Hewitt & Nicolle Wallace; the specialists – Andrea Mitchell (foreign affairs), Ari Melber (legal); Chuck Todd (political analysis); Velshi, Ruhle, and now Gura (business) and the 2016 campaign stars Tur, Hunt & Jackson.

    Personally, I like the changes, particularly Velshi, Ruhle, Wallace, and Tur. I’ve never seen Gura but I am looking forward to seeing how he does at MSNBC.

  4. I just watched this Gura guy’s first day. They replaced Thomas Roberts with someone who looks exactly like Thomas Roberts.

  5. “I just watched this Gura guy’s first day. They replaced Thomas Roberts with someone who looks exactly like Thomas Roberts.”

    ^^I don’t think either Gura’s or Robert’s appearance was the reason for the change. My guess is that it’s Gura’s business expertise that’s the big reason MSNBC brought him on board. That it was Robert’s and not Melvin, Lue, or Witt that was let go most likely has to do with contracts.

    I wonder how much longer Chris Jansing will be at MSNBC. Over the last year, she’s gone from Chief WH Correspondent to sub-hosting on holidays at the network. Like Robert’s she appears to be on her way out the door at MSNBC. I have no idea what reason her role has declined but I hope it’s only temporary.

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