According to Mediaite’s Andrew Kirell three more MSNBC programs are on the chopping block under the watchful eye of new NBC News president Andrew Lack. Lack is even showing up at the daily MSNBC editorial meeting held by network head Phil Griffin and according to the report, “Lack regularly appears ‘underwhelmed’ with the story pitches.”
Even more daunting for the staffs of three struggling MSNBC programs, Lack has requested evidence that their shows remain viable.
A couple of weeks ago, the executive producers of Now with Alex Wagner, The Ed Show, and All In with Chris Hayes were told to prepare “sizzle reels” of the best their programs have to offer. Theoretically, this exercise will help them identify what works best on their respective shows but, in reality, our sources say, any or all of these shows could soon be on the chopping block. The senior staffs of all three programs, we are told, are now concerned that their days are numbered.
Mediaite has also been told that Lack is considering a total overhaul of MSNBC’s daytime programming. The days of Lack’s predecessor Patricia Fili-Krushel deferring to Griffin’s judgment on programming are, according to our sources, officially over.
MSNBC has seen a deep skid in the past year perhaps because readers don’t trust its news coverage. When there are big stories, viewers go to other networks:
Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC, acknowledged that his network had been struggling, but put it in the context of the overall drop in cable news. “This has been a tough year all around,” he said. “All three cable news channels are drawing a smaller combined audience than they were five years ago.” He also emphasized that despite the plunge that caused it to trail CNN in the last quarter, the network remained ahead of CNN for the full year.
In the past, MSNBC’s ratings have typically fallen during times of intensely followed major news events. The current period is awash in them, with stories like ISIS and Ebola commanding a high degree of international reporting. This plays well to CNN’s strengths.
The all-progressive network shook up its line-up a few months ago with the cancellation of Ronan Farrow and Joy Reid. If Wagner, Shultz, and Hayes get canceled, can Al Sharpton far behind?
Cross-posted at The Lid