MSNBC President Phil Griffin let out a bombshell, stating that The Ed Show, The Cycle, and Now with Alex Wagner were canned in a bid to shuffle programming. Is wanting to promote more breaking news, like CNN and Fox, going to hurt the network?
Cable network MSNBC’s taking a lot of heat for canceling daytime favorites The Ed Show, The Cycle, and Now with Alex Wagner in the middle of programming shuffle. Fans of the network are angry at the cancelation in what is felt to be a shift towards Fox News-style reporting.
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Online discussions have rocketed through Twitter and Facebook with fans tagging the network’s social media accounts. Earlier this week, fans tried to save Ed Schultz’s show—ultimately to no avail.
MSNBC President Phil Griffin released an internal memo to employees, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In the document, he expressed a more forward motion for the slowly declining network.
“As of this Friday, The Cycle, Now with Alex Wagner and The Ed Show will air their final shows,” he announced.
If some of the more ‘lesser’ rated shows are chopped off, who’ll be replacing them?
Well, one answer might just surprise you. Turns out that Brian Willams’s career isn’t as dead as people predicted. After the being vetted and found wanting in journalistic ethics, the former NBC Nightly News anchor was pulled off air and then released by the peacock network.
But as is the way with TV networks and corporate ownership, Williams found a home on MSNBC.
TIME believes the move is a way to pacify angry consumers while still putting the vet on payroll in case he can "earn his way back" to Nightly. Reports imply that his new show will arrive in September. Mediaite speculates the show will run against Fox News anchor Shepherd Smith.
The news station president added that “in September, we’ll unveil a 9am to 5pm schedule driven by dynamic coverage of breaking news events that are shaping the day.” Of course, the emphasis on breaking news implies some kind of national or international event 365 days a year. Yet some days, nothing happens.
So is the idea to repackage a harping strategy on events in a weeklong format any different than the recently canceled series? The constant barrage of media indicates a broken news model, but who can fill the gap on the network besides Williams?
Griffin believes that Chuck Todd, current host of Meet the Press, will fit right back at home with the latest updates. “Beginning in a few weeks, Chuck Todd will bring his unmatched brand of political insight and analysis back to MSNBC with a daily one-hour program. That show will air weekdays at 5pm.”
Todd faced backlash for his attempt at discussing the Charleston Massacre and Black Lives Matter movement. The Sunday after the terroristic action, he showed a clip of black prisoners discussing why being irresponsible and violent isn’t the best idea. In fact, audiences wanted the host fired immediately and a social media campaign was born.
In the beginning, MSNBC’s reporting seemed to be a liberal counter to Fox News Channel’s more right-wing rhetoric. Once Comcast purchased NBC, a variety of critics, including politicans, speculated the network would fall in-line with the company’s ALEC-mentality.
ProPublica notes all campaign funds to various politicians through corporation and political alignment. Comcast backed leaders like former Texas Governor Rick Perry and current South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley in 2010.
So what’s the latest take? Well, with Ed Schultz, Krystal Ball, Abby Huntsman and Toure leaving the network, ratings may drop even lower. Griffin’s plans for a “pivot towards live, breaking news coverage” between 3pm and 6pm illustrates a tone-deaf approach towards the built-in audience.
Deadline reports All In with Chris Hayes faced the bubble last week. And Mediaite believes the show may be safe after receiving two Emmy nominations for Outstanding News Discussion And Analysis. The two pieces, All In America: A New Frontier in Women’s Healthcare and Fifty Year War: The Changing Face of Poverty in America, focus on American hot topics. Social issue bait for Emmy voters.
By changing mid-gear without warning and seeming to snub a sustaining audience, it’s almost like Bonnie Hammer is working for MSNBC now. The latest head of NBC News and MSNBC, Andrew Lack, is looking to bridge the gap and try to create an audience for both—but the idea may be a lost cause.
While Todd earned an Emmy nod for hosting, MSNBC’s hyping may backfire. And keeping Wagner on to follow the 2016 elections may satisfy a few viewers, but where will she go when the ballots are counted? Media fans are savvy and scrutinize big business transactions thoroughly.
Griffin ended the memo on a more hopeful note. “Change can be hard. There’s no doubt it’s been a difficult time, but we have exciting opportunities ahead.”
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Audience members and former hosts may disagree about the idea of “exciting opportunities” as the network pulls a radio dial change; an obvious rebranding in what seems to be a desperate bid for viewership.