MSNBC Needs to Clean Up Its Dayside Scheduling Mess…

Ever since COVID-19 mania swept over the nation and the world, two of the three cable news networks tore up their regular dayside scheduling. But the methods and tactics differed wildly.

Over at CNN the changes consisted of shifting some of its primetime talent into dayside in attempt to potentially juice their primetine show ratings long term (the tactic will fail to work as it has always failed to work for CNN whenever it tries this stunt…but that’s a story for another day). In addition Brooke Baldwin went down with COVID-19 for weeks which further disrupted the rotation. Months later, the schedule has not yet returned to pre COVID-19 order and it’s not clear when that will happen. It will happen at some point but COVID-19 isn’t the only thing impacting anchor rotation decisions now in the wake of George Floyd’s death and everything else that has happened since.

Over at MSNBC things have gotten rather messy for reasons that are no longer really operative. The single biggest driving factor that blew up MSNBC’s Dayside rotation was President Trump’s multi-hour daily briefings. When they were being held starting around 11:30am ET, they’d frequently run over Andrea Mitchell’s entire hour which caused the network to carve out the first half hour at 1pmET for her show before going into a half hour of someone else at 1:30pm.

But then Trump shifted his briefings to around 4pm which ran over Chuck Todd’s hour. So the network responded by putting Todd on at 1pm in a non-Meet The Press Daily format…so he wasn’t really doing his show at 1pm, he was doing whatever was news at that hour (basically COVID and later BLM).

Meanwhile, the network decided to lengthen Deadline: White House and have it start at 3:30pm ET. That left 3-3:30 as needing to be filled and MSNBC filled it by pairing Brian Williams with Wallace for the half hour as well as pairing Williams with Katy Tur in her own hour at 2pm.

That pairing didn’t work so well so MSNBC shook that up by pairing Todd and Tur together from 1pm-3pm ET. And Williams and Wallace from 3:00-3:30pm and Wallace solo from 3:30-5pm.

Except Todd doesn’t work Mondays. So Tur anchors 1pm Monday solo, right? Wrong! On Mondays they have Ari Melber solo anchor 1pm because…because…well just because dammit!

And that’s where we currently stand with MSNBC’s tortured dayside lineup.

What a mess. Melber anchoring solo Mondays at 1pm makes no sense. Pairing Todd and Tur and Williams and Wallace makes no sense, particularly when they aren’t in the same location. Watching the lags go on and uneven flow of the back and forth locations and segments is very awkward especially when you consider that these issues only became introduced because MSNBC decided to start remote pairing anchors.

Pairing Williams and Wallace for half an hour makes even less sense. There’s really no reason for it just like it makes no sense for MSNBC, or any network for that matter, to have a 1.5 hour program (Deadline: White House).

And all of this occurred because of Trump’s COVID-19 press briefings jumping around the day…briefings that aren’t even occurring any more.

MSNBC needs to restore order to the chaos and clean up its dayside anchor rotation and make something consistent out of it again.

3 Responses to “MSNBC Needs to Clean Up Its Dayside Scheduling Mess…”

  1. Alex Smith Says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if “Tv by theNumbers” was still able to publish cable news daytime ratings so we could see what impact the changes at CNN and MSNBC have had.

    I miss a decent source for daytime ratings in a readable format.

  2. […] needles Stephanie.  ICN: Clean up your mess, […]

  3. Thank you for your analysis, and so glad to see you back after a long hiatus.

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