MSNBC’s New New Plan For Daytime: “Give Me The Facts, Ma’am”

brewer_12-28The recent programming changes at MSNBC – Dr. Nancy canceled, Dylan Ratigan moving to 4pmET, Chuck Todd/Savannah Guthrie to host new 9amET show – signal a shift in the strategy for the network.

And MSNBC is explaining why the plan in June has been scrapped fora new one.

The Associated PressDavid Bauder talked to MSNBC President Phil Griffin about the changes. “We did some experimentation to find out what the audience during the daytime wants and I think we found out they want your basic facts – give me the facts, ma’am,” Griffin said. “We can still do it with our passion and a fast pace.”

But it wasn’t always this way – just six months ago Griffin was convinced the personality-driven approach would work better. As TVNewser noted, the original plan was for “Appointment TV,” to move the dayside formula “away from the TelePrompTer headline news.” It didn’t work – MSNBC’s daytime hours finished in 5th place in the A25-54 demographic, even below CNBC – and now they’re back to the prompter.

There’s also this quote from Griffin: “All three cable networks kind of struggle during the day trying to figure out their identity. We’re going to get into a more aggressive headline and information programming.”

Bauder doesn’t explore how exactly Griffin thinks CNN and Fox News are ’struggling’ to ‘figure out their identity’ but it seems that they’ve figured out their identity long ago. For years, FNC and CNN have been in news hours, similar to what MSNBC will employ in January, from 9amET-4pmET (and beyond for CNN). Say what you want about CNN’s prime time ratings, but during the day they are a solid #2 beyond a surging FNC, and they seem to have their identity pretty clear.

Meanwhile, Bauder touches on another question of identity – MSNBC weekends. We noted several times the lack of live coverage from MSNBC concerning the attempted terror attack, and how CNN and Fox News covered the story far more. When asked for comment, an MSNBC spokesperson told Mediaite, “We cut-in to our regular programming with updates on the story throughout the afternoon and evening.”

One final note: the Wikipedia MSNBC schedule for January, first reported by Inside Cable News, is not accurate, confirms MSNBC. The more specific anchor breakdowns have not yet been announced.

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Fox & CNN Covering Flt. 253 Terror Scare — MSNBC Stays With Doc

Delta Plane Detroit TerrorTonight, the White House is calling an attempt to detonate a bomb aboard Northwest Flight 253 an attempted terror attack, by a man who himself claims to have been sent by al Qaeda — and MSNBC is showing “Disappearance at the Dairy Queen.” Fox and CNN are on the story with updated information and ongoing.

On CNN, Ed Henry is reporting from Hawaii, where President Obama’s vacation was just seriously interrupted; Fox has a counterterrorist expert on the phone talking about the incident and the potential ramifications. On MSNBC, Christina Brown broke in for about a minute with a quick report, before taking the audience back to their program.

There are so many questions here — did the suspect, 23 year old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab work alone, or does he have teammates? And were they on his flight, or on other flights? Or are there flights scheduled to go out tomorrow that may yet have terrorists on board? How did Abdulmutallab get the bomb on board — or was it all there?

Now, Fox is interviewing a passenger, who was sitting in front of Abdulmutallab, who says that the security was pretty tight. MSNBC has some sort of jailhouse interview with bad sound. On CNN, Ali Velshi is talking to Rep. Peter King (NY), the senior Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee and just switched to Peter Bergen, their terrorism expert. According Bergen, Abdulmutallab told authorities that he procured the materials used for the potential explosive device in Yemen. Yesterday, an airstrike by Yemeni forces targeting an al Qaeda hub killed 30; reports that radical cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi, linked to Ft. Hood shooter, army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan, was not among them. According to Bergen, Yemen is becoming a major hotbed for terrorist activity. He also reminded Velshi that so-called “shoe bomber” Richard Reed attempted his mid-air bomb attack around this time of year.

Yeah, it’s Christmas. THAT’S THE POINT. If you’re going to call yourself a news network, then cover the news.


Buble and Beck: Good For Demo, Not For Total Viewers

Cable news ratings, December 22, 2009: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

Glenn Beck spent the full hour with Canadian singer Michael Buble for Tuesday’s pre-taped 5pmET Fox News show. The full hour. How did it do in the ratings? It was low in the A25-54 demographic, but still higher than the two hours that followed it. Meanwhile in total viewers, it was FNC’s lowest hour until Bill O’Reilly’s 11pmET repeat.

• The top non-FNC show was Nancy Grace’s 8pmET program on HLN in the demo and Larry King’s 9pmET program on CNN (guest-hosted by Jeff Probst) in total viewers.

Check out all the ratings below, and leave your own thoughts in the comments:

TV NEWS RATINGS: 25-54 DEMOGRAPHIC (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm Beck

 

419

Blitzer

 

137

Matthews

 

58

Prime

 

127

6 pm Baier

 

395

Blitzer

 

127

EdShow

 

75

Prime

 

117

7 pm Shep

 

428

Tonight

 

106

Matthews

 

80

Issues

 

150

8 pm O’Reilly

 

626

Brown

 

124

Olbermann

 

187

Grace

 

221

9 pm Hannity

 

496

King

 

169

Maddow

 

185

Behar

 

120

10 pm Greta

 

535

Cooper

 

154

Olbermann

 

134

Grace

 

151

11 pm O’Reilly

 

399

Cooper

 

124

Maddow

 

117

Showbiz

 

185

TOTAL DAY 340 131 80 142
PRIME TIME 553 149 169 159
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
TV NEWS RATINGS: TOTAL VIEWERS (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm Beck

 

1660

Blitzer

 

562

Matthews

 

487

Prime

 

232

6 pm Baier

 

1982

Blitzer

 

437

EdShow

 

440

Prime

 

280

7 pm Shep

 

1808

Tonight

 

589

Matthews

 

485

Issues

 

467

8 pm O’Reilly

 

2497

Brown

 

461

Olbermann

 

785

Grace

 

782

9 pm Hannity

 

1834

King

 

790

Maddow

 

750

Behar

 

580

10 pm Greta

 

1814

Cooper

 

606

Olbermann

 

426

Grace

 

440

11 pm O’Reilly

 

1150

Cooper

 

358

Maddow

 

356

Showbiz

 

387

TOTAL DAY 1290 487 356 347
PRIME TIME 2049 619 654 587
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.


President Obama: Change No One Can Believe In Anymore?

2-face-obama(5)So! 2009 is almost over. The health care bill has passed. President Obama has announced his plan for Afghanistan. The midterms are still eleven months away. What will we talk about? If some of the coverage these last few days (from normally stalwart Obama supporters) is any hint, it’s likely the focus between now and the president’s State of the Union address is going to on Obama’s sinking popularity and everything he has done wrong in the last…eleven months.

On Tuesday Time ran a piece by Michael Scherer about why the president should actually be concerned about his dropping poll numbers because it’s not just the economy, stupid. Though that’s a big part. Also a problem is the fact that Congress’ support tends to dwindle with the country’s and “change we can believe in” has become change we can’t be bothered to vote for.

The 2009 elections in New Jersey and Virginia were initially talked about by Obama allies as a test of the President’s organizing power. By the time the votes were counted, however, with Republicans winning two Democratic seats, no one at the White House wanted to claim any responsibility. That’s because the remarkable enthusiasm that greeted Obama’s victory in 2008, with record turnout among independents, blacks and young people, had gone away, along with the minions of Obama organizers…the enthusiasm gap bodes poorly for 2010, when Obama will be trying to minimize losses in the House and the Senate. According to the recent Battleground poll, just under two-thirds of Democrats say they are extremely likely to vote in upcoming elections, compared to 77% of Republicans and Independents.

Wow. Easy come, easy go, I guess? Meanwhile, traditional Obama media stalwarts like HuffPo, which basically built its online dominance on the back of the Obama campaign is now running banner headlines like “Now Obama Gets Involved: President Pledges Hands-On Role Merging Bills.” Snap! Even Chris Matthews, he of the shivering leg, sounded a tad cynical last night about whether and how Obama has been keeping any (all?) of the promises he made during last year’s campaign. And Salon’s Joan Walsh sounded downright skeptical about Obama’s near invisible support of the public option. (Video below).

I’m a pragmatist. I still have to say Obama got both sides mad at him. The left is not happy with him, we’ve heard from lots of diff senators that the president never pushed this, he never twisted any arms.

Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan, is still knowing Hope. He thinks Obama’s first year was a success:

Change of this magnitude is extremely hard. That it is also frustrating, inadequate, compromised, flawed, and beset with bribes and trade-offs does not, in my mind, undermine it. Obama told us it would be like this – and it is. And those who backed him last year would do better, to my mind, if they appreciated the difficulty of this task and the diligence and civility that Obama has displayed in executing it.

“Inadequate, compromised, flawed, and beset with bribes and trade-offs” also does not make for easy headlines or quick content, neither does an always bad economy, so it may be a while — a long while if circumstances remain unchanged — before we get back to the victorious change you can believe in meme. Matthew’s video below.


Glenn Beck’s Audience Didn’t Really Want To Know About Books

Cable news ratings, December 21, 2009: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

• Fox News’ 5pmET ratings juggernaut Glenn Beck is off this week, and there are several pre-packaged new shows in the can that are airing in place of the live program. On Monday, Beck welcomed a few of his favorite authors for a “Heroes and Stories” special – and the ratings dropped significantly from where they usually are in total viewers. Beck was under two million, and had less viewers than the next two hours.

• The top show on cable news was, once again, Bill O’Reilly’s 8pmET program in both categories.

Check out all the ratings below, and leave your own thoughts in the comments:

TV NEWS RATINGS: 25-54 DEMOGRAPHIC (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm Beck

 

471

Blitzer

 

128

Matthews

 

74

Prime

 

109

6 pm Baier

 

405

Blitzer

 

117

EdShow

 

68

Prime

 

132

7 pm Shep

 

412

Tonight

 

147

Matthews

 

121

Issues

 

109

8 pm O’Reilly

 

653

Brown

 

144

Olbermann

 

214

Grace

 

256

9 pm Hannity

 

484

King

 

161

Maddow

 

213

Behar

 

189

10 pm Greta

 

318

Cooper

 

163

Olbermann

 

189

Grace

 

238

11 pm O’Reilly

 

247

Cooper

 

158

Maddow

 

144

Showbiz

 

245

TOTAL DAY 322 135 96 150
PRIME TIME 488 156 205 222
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
TV NEWS RATINGS: TOTAL VIEWERS (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm Beck

 

1919

Blitzer

 

607

Matthews

 

569

Prime

 

272

6 pm Baier

 

2036

Blitzer

 

455

EdShow

 

509

Prime

 

280

7 pm Shep

 

2017

Tonight

 

553

Matthews

 

555

Issues

 

440

8 pm

O’Reilly

2785

 

Brown

 

529

Olbermann

 

910

Grace

 

833

9 pm Hannity

 

1847

King

 

678

Maddow

 

816

Behar

 

627

10 pm Greta

 

1525

Cooper

590

 

Olbermann

 

522

Grace

 

549

11 pm O’Reilly

 

1000

Cooper

 

430

Maddow

 

415

Showbiz

 

504

TOTAL DAY 1307 490 390 358
PRIME TIME 2057 599 749 649
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.


Rachel Maddow: Tea Partiers Are The New ‘GOP Baggers’

Picture 2On last night’s show Rachel Maddow, looking back at 2009, called the attempted reinvention of the Republican party after the last year’s election the “the greatest show in American politics over the past year.” So what will that reinvention produce? Maddow taps the Tea Partiers as a the strongest sign of what’s to come.

Maddow points to Michael Steele’s joint phone press conference with Dick Armey — who with his Freedom Works group has made great steps to appropriate the splintering Partiers – as (temporary) evidence of what direction the coming GOP leadership is attempting to steer itself. Says Maddow:

So much for the Tea Party contingent running insufficiently right wing Republicans out of the party, right? Now, at least according to Dick Armey and Michael Steele, the Republican party are the Tea Partiers and the Tea Partiers are the Republican Party. They are the GOP-baggers. They are the Tea-publicans. They are one! At least they were on Monday…It already appears to be over.

But not so fast! Maddow goes on to note that Rep. Parker Griffith whose defection to the GOP yesterday was greeted with unanimous cheer on the (elected) right, was not greeted quite so warmly by the Tea Partiers who are now threatening to “tea bag” him. And so the GOP “show” returns and goes on. Full video below:



Dr. Nancy Canceled: Another MSNBC Dayside Change

nancy_12-23Another change is coming to MSNBC daytime – Dr. Nancy Snyderman’s progam, which has aired at NoonET since June, has been canceled, according to TVNewser.

This comes after another shake-up was announced concerning daytime – moving Dylan Ratigan to 4pmET – and may signal more announcements to come in the new year.

The reason for this is simple – ratings. Dr. Nancy, as well as Ratigan’s Morning Meeting were struggling in a big way in the A25-54 demographic. In fact, the programs finished in 5th place, behind even CNBC, during the month of November. Now programs are being dropped (Carlos Watson’s 11amET was an earlier casualty) while others are being moved.

Yesterday we reported on Chris Matthews‘ declining demo ratings as well at 5pmET – heading for one of his worst monthly finishes during December.

The problem hours for MSNBC are the opposite of CNN – while MSNBC is thriving in prime time, CNN is struggling, and during the day it is reversed. CNN is looking for other options now as well. All of this is to jockey for 2nd place on cable news, while FNC has far surpassed the other two networks.

There will definitely be more changes – whether MSNBC keeps 10amET-1pmET as straight news hours remains to be seen – and we’ll keep you up-to-date as we hear more news out of 30 Rock.

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