LA Times on a Progressive Voice for MSNBC's 10 PM Hour
by Jonathan Singer, Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 03:26:39 AM EST
In today's Los Angeles Times, television correspondent Matea Gold takes up the more or less unprecedented movements to get someone from the world of progressive talk -- some working on behalf of Sam Seder, some working on behalf of The Young Turks -- on to MSNBC weeknights at 10:00 PM Eastern.
Television network executives looking for new talent are accustomed to getting pleas from agents urging them to check out their clients.
But in the last few weeks, MSNBC has experienced a different kind of onslaught: a flood of unsolicited endorsements from fans of liberal radio hosts touting them as the network's next potential big star.
At this point, the search for a new host is just an "aspiration," said [MSNBC President Phil] Griffin, noting that the network may not even select someone by the year's end. But he said he had been floored by the reaction, which has included "dozens and dozens of phone calls from people I never thought about or considered."
Indeed, the campaigns have Griffin's attention; he has the e-mails printed out and sifts through them. But he doesn't have a candidate in mind yet.
"One thing I know is that I don't know who it's going to be, so there's an opportunity there," he said. "I don't want the same old same old. I want something new and fresh and innovative."
This is a real positive development. In the end, the decision will be Phil Griffin's to make as the head of MSNBC. But the fact that he's hearing us is encouraging. Griffin notes in a portion of the article not quoted above, but which I'd recommend you reading in full, that there have been times in the past when the passing of a show from one host to another at the network "and nobody noticed."
People are noticing now, however. A large part of this, writes Gold (and I think she's right on the money), is the success of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, who have helped changed MSNBC from a network consistently pulling in fewer viewers than the other cable news outlets to one that now is truly competitive. But it's also the notion that the people watching programming should have some say in it. Kudos to Griffin for hearing these voices -- and even more kudos to him in the future if he listens to and follows these voices.