Archive for the MSNBC Category

The MSNBC Conundrum…

Posted in MSNBC on May 15, 2017 by icn2

In a semi must read article that clearly takes sides and doubles as an Andy Lack hit piece, The Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim writes about MSNBC’s ratings rise and how that is allegedly making life difficult for one person at NBC…

But from inside, the news about Wallace and Hewitt was seen as just two more steps toward the full execution of the vision of Andy Lack, the NBC News executive who oversees MSNBC. He has made quite clear his plan to move the cable news network away from its bedrock liberalism and toward a more centrist approach personified by Brian Williams — even including hosts of a conservative bent, as typified by hosts like Megyn Kelly or Greta Van Susteren, who Lack brought over from Fox News.

But Lack, in seeking to make this vision a reality, has an unusual problem for a TV executive: sky-high ratings. Since the election of Trump, MSNBC’s liberal primetime programs hosted by Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell have surged not just in ratings but in the share of the cable news audience they’re capturing. In its earnings call on Thursday, NBCUniversal specifically cited the boost in ratings to “The Rachel Maddow Show” for a spike in profits. Maddow has been the top show on cable news in the key demographic for two months running, an inconceivable achievement at MSNBC.

Tossing those primetime hosts overboard while they’re raking in viewership and revenue has so far proved an elusive task.

“Hayes, Maddow, O’Donnell ― the entire primetime lineup is doing record numbers and Lack can’t stand it. It makes him furious,” said one senior MSNBC source, echoing the sentiment of many other insiders who spoke to HuffPost only on the condition of anonymity. (An NBC spokesman said Lack is happy with the high ratings.)

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The Last Word for The Last Word?

Posted in MSNBC on May 14, 2017 by icn2

The Huffington Post’s Yashar Ali writes that Lawrence O’Donnell may soon find himself without a show on MSNBC…

Lawrence O’Donnell, host of MSNBC’s “The Last Word,” has just four weeks left in his contract, and the cable network does not appear to be interested in renewing his deal. Four well-placed sources tell HuffPost that MSNBC has not been in contact with O’Donnell’s team of representatives to negotiate a new deal.

The absence of active negotiations weeks before a contract expires is highly unusual and often a sign that a contract won’t be renewed. News networks normally don’t risk letting the contract of a host who has a highly rated program expire or even come close to expiring before renegotiating. A short time-frame puts the network at a strategic disadvantage in talks, that’s why cable networks often start negotiating renewals six to nine months in advance of a contract ending.

A spokesman for NBC News declined to comment on “ongoing negotiations.” Although, multiple sources from inside and outside the network have told HuffPost that no negotiations have taken place.

Surprising, considering how MSNBC’s prime time has been tearing it up in the ratings this year. But maybe not so surprising if Andrew Lack wants to get Brian Williams in at 10 instead of 11…

Steve Kornacki’s New Role

Posted in MSNBC on May 8, 2017 by icn2

With the announcement of Nicolle Wallace getting the 4pm hour on MSNBC, speculation centered on what would become of Steve Kornacki. Now we know. NBC announced that Kornacki has become NBC News and MSNBC’s National Political Correspondent and chief sub for Hardball with Chris Matthews…

STEVE KORNACKI NAMED NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT FOR NBC NEWS AND MSNBC

NEW YORK, NY – May 8, 2017 – Steve Kornacki has been named National Political Correspondent, NBC News and MSNBC, a role that will expand his duties and visibility across both networks, MSNBC President Phil Griffin announced today.
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MSNBC Gives Nicole Wallace 4pm…Demotes (?) Kornacki…

Posted in MSNBC on April 28, 2017 by icn2

MSNBC announced that Nicole Wallace will be hosting the 4pm hour. That’s Steve Kornacki’s hour, btw. Kornacki is apparently going to be contributing to the hour but if that’s all he ends up doing this should be viewed as a demotion.

As for Wallace, it’s a further erosion of what’s left of the wall separating traditional journalism from the world of political operatives. So many have “crossed over” now, it’s almost meaningless to assert there even is a wall still. Salinger, Sawyer, Stephanopoulos, Wallace, Perino…where does it end?

In any case it looks on its face like MSNBC is cutting back another hour of news in favor of more POV Analysis.

NEW YORK (April 28, 2017) – MSNBC today announced that NBC News political analyst Nicolle Wallace will expand her role to host a new program that will air weekdays from 4-5pm ET. The New York City-based program will premiere in May.

Wallace, a former White House Communications Director, will tackle the latest political developments and conduct interviews with leading newsmakers. MSNBC host and political correspondent Steve Kornacki will continue his presence in the hour, providing in-depth discussion and analysis. The broadcast builds on the momentum of MSNBC dayside (M-F 9am-5pm), which delivered the network’s biggest total viewer audience ever in the first quarter of 2017.
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Kate Snow Leaving MSNBC…

Posted in MSNBC on April 21, 2017 by icn2

TVNewser’s A.J. Katz writes that Kate Snow will be leaving MSNBC dayside to do work for the mother ship network…

Kate Snow is leaving her MSNBC show for expanded duties at NBC News.

NBC News president Noah Oppenheim announced that in addition to anchoring Sunday Nightly News, Snow’s new 3-year deal will include reporting stories for NBC’s upcoming Sunday news magazine show, which will be hosted by NBC News newcomer Megyn Kelly. Snow will also report pieces for NBC Nightly News, Today and Dateline.

Snow was doing six day work weeks for months so something had to give.

MSNBC’s dayside lineup has been in turmoil for a while now, despite the election being over. 10am has no designated anchor and now neither does 3pm. In addition Craig Melvin only anchors 4 days a week because of his Saturday Today duties. The network has been double and sometimes triple shifting Katy Tur for completely inexplicable reasons.

Tur is so far an interesting case study in branding confusion. Her big claim to fame was working the campaign trail and reporting from the field. MSNBC has been going out of its way citing her remote reporting in its advertising.

And yet how is the network using her? As a news anchor. She built up her brand doing one thing…the network has been advertising her doing that one thing…and then it winds up having her doing something completely different from the brand that’s been cultivated. It’s bizarre. They should have given her a D.C. job.

February Numbers: MSNBC…

Posted in MSNBC, Ratings Related on February 28, 2017 by icn2

MSNBC is noting its February ratings…

MORE PEOPLE WATCHED MSNBC THAN CNN IN FEBRUARY

MSNBC M-F Prime Finishes #2 Among All Cable Networks in Total Viewers, Beats CNN for Third Straight Month

MSNBC M-F Total Day Ranks #3 for All Cable, Outperforms CNN in Total Viewers

“Morning Joe” Ranks #2 in Time Period for All Cable, Continues Total Viewer Win Over Third-Place CNN for 24th Straight Month

“The Rachel Maddow Show” Ranks #2 for Total and Demo Audiences, Bests CNN for the 45th Straight Month

MSNBC Also Beats CNN Among Total Viewers at 7pm, 8pm, 10pm, and 11pm

NEW YORK (February 28, 2017) – For the month of February 2017, more people tuned in to MSNBC than CNN. MSNBC weekday prime (M-F 8-11pm) finished #2 in total viewers among all cable networks, beating CNN for the third straight month. MSNBC prime delivered higher growth than the competition, posting a gain of +64% among total viewers compared to February 2016 (vs. -29% for CNN and +30% for FOX News).

MSNBC also ranked #3 in total day (M-F 6am-2am) audience among all cable networks in total viewers. MSNBC’s full day growth far outpaced the competition, delivering the third most growth in all of cable and posting a gain of +60% compared to February 2016 (vs. +16% for CNN and +34% for FOX News).
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Someone Screwed Themselves in the Tamron Hall/NBC Breakup. But who?

Posted in MSNBC on February 2, 2017 by icn2

Nothing about Tamron Hall leaving NBC makes any sense for either side in this drama. Usually when there’s a breakup there’s a winner and a loser. But in this case there are no winners. There are only losers.

For NBC, losing Hall is not just optically bad, it is substantively bad. It would not be an understatement to argue that NBC had invested a lot in her. It elevated her profile across multiple platforms.

Hall’s duties included the following…

– Today’s Take
– Anchoring MSNBC’s 11am hour
– Subbing on Today
– Subbing on NBC Nightly News
– Hosting Dateline Crime on I.D.
– Hosting Dateline Extra on MSNBC
– Hosting the Westminster Dog Show TV coverage on NBCU’s networks

Hall was NBC’s highest profile female African American talent and NBC made extensive use of her. It was in NBC’s interest to keep her with the network given all the investment the network had made in broadening her profile across NBCU. Losing her would open up the network to all kinds diversity based criticisms. The downside far outweighed the upside if NBC let her walk and the network had to have known this.

For Hall, walking away from NBC was an extremely risky maneuver for one simple reason. The likelihood that she could land elsewhere with anywhere close to the same profile and salary she would have gotten by staying at NBC were very low. It’s not a question of “is she worth it?”. It’s a question of “where’s the space and need available at any other network to make it happen?”

Do not underestimate the significance of this question. Consider:

– At ABC, GMA is full. Yes, it’s not killing Today like it was a couple of years ago but the network just reloaded on talent and format changes so it was unlikely to blow that up at this stage. The rest of ABC’s news properties are pretty well set for the long term. There isn’t much need for Hall at ABC.

– At CBS, the same story. Gayle King just re-upped on CBS This Morning and given that show’s upward trajectory there would be little motivation to upset that apple cart. Oprah just signed on with 60 Minutes. While there have been rumors of changes coming on the CBS Evening News, it would be extremely unlikely that CBS, having been burned rotten by the Katie Couric experiment, would take a flier on her. There isn’t much need for Hall at CBS.

– CNN is a little more interesting but equally unlikely. In the immediate aftermath of Carol Costello’s exit to HLN, I could have seen Hall slip in to that slot. But that ship is long gone from port now and to bring Hall in to the network at this point, while not impossible, is certainly less likely than it would have been prior to CNN’s rejiggered dayside lineup announcement.

There are still potential spots in CNN’s dayside to plug Hall into. Inside Politics and Wolf Blitzer’s first hour would be the most obvious shifts. But that means Blitzer and/or King would be displaced. Blitzer still has The Situation Room and he’s been made to give up time on that show in the past. But it would mean the second time King would lose his show and that would be a bitter pill to swallow indeed.

More to the point, there is nothing CNN could offer Hall that would match what she was currently enjoying with NBC. NBC had her all over the place. At CNN, she would be just another face in a very large crowd. To elevate her profile beyond that would put too many network veterans’ noses out of joint.

– FNC? News anchors are not the draw there…they’re interchangeable cogs. It’s the opinion people who rule the roost. Even if the network had the desire or the room to accommodate Hall, both of which I would find highly implausible, the top dog at FNC’s news is Shepard Smith and his profile has shrunk from what it was six years ago. Hall would be taking a considerable profile hit, compared to what she enjoyed at NBC, if she came to FNC.

From my vantage point Hall’s best option was to remain at NBC.

This is what makes what happened yesterday so unfathomable. It was in both parties’ interest for Hall to stay with NBC. That it didn’t happen suggests someone screwed themselves somehow.

But the question of who sabotaged any prospective deal remains a mystery. There’s been some (NBC based) leakage in the press; no doubt to put a favorable spin and try to mitigate any Ann Curry like fallout from taking place…with Megyn Kelly undeservedly playing the role of Matt Lauer. The gist of the leaks was NBC was willing to throw a lot of money Hall’s way and expand her profile on Today to compensate for Today’s Take going away.

The leaks don’t flat out say it but the impression that’s left hanging in the air is that Hall’s camp screwed this up somehow. There’s been nothing so far from Hall’s camp to refute this but I would not automatically assume that lack of response means there’s truth to the charge. They could just be taking the high road knowing that they need to find someplace new now and any public spat would be counterproductive to that end goal.

The last thing Megyn Kelly needed was more pressure. Well now she’s got more pressure. It’s not fair to view it this way but a lot of people are going to be view it this way:

Megyn Kelly pushed Tamron Hall out of NBC.

In my opinion, to make that claim is stupid. Megyn Kelly had nothing to do with Hall and NBC separating. NBC hired Kelly not knowing where she would go, though the smart money immediately moved to the 9 or 10 am hours. Let’s be clear here; NBC is the reason Today’s Take got cancelled, not Tamron Hall and not Megyn Kelly. If NBC didn’t view Today’s Take as weak it wouldn’t have pushed Willie Geist and Natalie Morales out and Billy Bush in. If NBC didn’t view Today’s Take as weak it wouldn’t have reversed itself and thrown Bush under the bus after the Trump video came out. If NBC didn’t view Today’s Take as weak it wouldn’t have considered it as the more expendable of the two shows after Today (the other being the Hoda Kotb/Kathie Lee hour) if the network wanted to find a place for Kelly’s show. Kelly had nothing to do with any of this.

A does not beget B. Megyn Kelly’s arrival does not mean Tamron Hall’s departure. Whatever broke down in the negotiations between Hall and NBC caused Hall’s departure. It was a departure that nobody should have wanted. Both sides lost.