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Ed Schultz Moves to Weekend as MSNBC Brand Statement Becomes Clear

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THE ANNOUNCEMENT from Ed Schultz on Wednesday was framed that it was his decision to move to the weekends, his new show beginning in April and will be seen from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. There is, however, no doubt that a weekend show has less power and presence, especially at those times. Ratings have been solid, but he’s a union guy in the midst of geeks and wonks.

Schultz recently went off on Brian Stelter for reporting that Schultz was out at 8 pm.

From Columbia Journalism Review earlier in March:

The Times’s Brian Stelter says, “Seeing Ed Schultz on television makes a viewer think, ‘Wow. Where are the other guys like him?’ I personally didn’t recognize the dearth of labor coverage presented from a pro-labor point of view until Ed started doing it on television.”

At the same time, Stelter continues, “When MSNBC talks about its brand, it talks about Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell and Chris Hayes. It doesn’t talk as often about Ed Schultz.”

It’s arguable that, just as the Democrats viewed Schultz as the right man for the job during the heart of the Bush years, MSNBC is beginning to view others as a better fit in the age of Obama. Schultz’s bombast, which resembles the Fox News style of the 2000s, was once the hallmark of opinionated cable news. But now, perhaps, MSNBC sees a different way forward, and is building a lineup in the sober, technocrat image of the current administration.

We don’t watch Schultz, but then we’ve stopped watching MSNBC in the evening. It’s one-sided politics and lack of criticism of Democratic party decisions that deserve to be challenged bores the bejesus out of both of us.

As you can imagine, we obviously don’t watch Fox News channel either, though I tape all the networks at different periods of the day to get a look at the fodder being fed to audiences.

I’m still hoping CNN will rise out of hyper-partisan MSNBC and Fox News variety, but right now it’s more tabloid TV than anything else. At least if you’ve got CNN on, the sound off, you know the trending news topics, which remain less predictable than the fare at the other big two cable shows, which represent the big two political parties and have content that’s totally predictable.

Ezra Klein seems to be the name rising to the top to take over at 8 pm when Schultz leaves, which if true speaks volumes about the MSNBC brand in primetime, which would be Ezra into Rachel into Lawrence O’Donnell.

The hottest show on MSNBC remains Chris Hayes, in my opinion, so if I ran the network I’d put Hayes in at 8 pm weeknights. Hey, but I’m not your average MSNBC political show viewer.

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17 Responses to Ed Schultz Moves to Weekend as MSNBC Brand Statement Becomes Clear

  1. jinbaltimore March 14, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    This sad network, these days pretending to be “progressive” has never really lost its core mission, which is to follow which way the wind is blowing.

    From Chris Matthews pushing CDS and Monica-gate in the late 90′s and the Iraq War post 9/11, to the recent shaming of Chris Hayes for daring to call into question our notions of “heroes.” Keith Olbermann might have been an exception to this rule for a brief time during the GW terms, but even he had to go when not in line with the higher ups. Can’t tell if Rachel Maddow is self-censoring at this point or taking orders, but she has lost quite a bit of the relevance she had when on the radio. And Ezra Klein…eesh, David Axelrod is not really that far of a leap from Klein as far as administration spokespeople go.

    • Taylor Marsh March 14, 2013 at 9:06 am #

      Really appreciate your take, jinbaltimore.

      I’ve heard from others on MSNBC, too, who are quite disillusioned.

    • PeggySue March 14, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

      I heard Matthews say this week that ‘he was always against the Iraq War.” Say what?? That’s not what I recall, not by a long shot. In fact, the comment had me spinning around [I was getting dinner prepared]. Was he kidding? I wondered. No, perfectly serious. Maybe he has himself mixed up with Phil Donohue. Who, in fact, got the axe for his continous war opposition.

      Revisionist history. It’s a beautiful thing.

  2. LiberalJoe March 14, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    Late breaking news is that Chris Hayes gets the spot. Thank god its not Ezra Klein who would make an intellectual argument as to why cuts to the Big 3 are necessary, doable and should probably be implemented to some degree-spare me.

    MSNBC is often times boring as crap. Ed was the only one who had passion, which is why I watched him mostly (get home too late for Rev Al) Rachel as smart as she is way to wonky, Lawrence I like because a lot of what he does is tongue in cheek.

    Absent Ed the rest of the lineup is focused on “elite” policy very little passion about liberalism. Chris , the few times I’ve seen him is a bit more passionate about liberalism. The lineup is completely DC establishment oriented and focused on talking to them-with Ed the exception.

    They want to grab ratings start talking to the middle class the working class and start ripping new asshole in Dems who want to play nice in the sandbox with Repubs and are to ready to elll out Dem party ideals. I have yet to see anyone on MSNBC rip a new one into Jan Schakowtsky, Sherrod Brown, Chuck Schumer, or other Dems for selling out Dem Principles and that includes Pres Obama. Its always tsk tsk those pesky repubs are too mean-spare me.

    Cenk is good I like him I wish he had a broader forum, as well as Eliot Spitzer.

  3. T-Steel March 14, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    I read and watch anime on the Funimation and Crunchyroll networks. My day is done. LOL!

  4. mjsmith March 14, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    Taylor – “Hey, but I’m not your average MSNBC political show viewer.” ? Sure there are as many different “msnbc viewers” as there are people who watch the channel. I think it is safe to say that you arein the range of typical msnbc viewers, in my humble opinion. A typical msnbc viewer to me is a person who does not think President Obama is liberal or “progressive” enough and yet voted for him anyways.

    • Taylor Marsh March 14, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

      Just a note of record keeping, in 2012 I did not cast a ballot for president.

      That said, it’s wonderful that the last sentence in my post turns out to be EXACTLY what they did: MOVED CHRIS HAYES TO 8 pm. Brava!

      • mjsmith March 14, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

        You had said nice things about Chris Hayes since he had been on. THe thing about Ed Schultz that I don’t like is his love and passion for all these unions. I am from Detroit and I have a much different view on unions than he does.

        I thought about not voting. I figure if I vote for 3rd party it would help express the need for more choices for voters.

  5. Pilgrim March 14, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    I too have pretty well given up on MSNBC. It is so predictable, so — yes — one-sided.

  6. JoeCHI March 14, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    Morning Joe is the only thing on MSNBC that doesn’t make me want to throw the TV out of the window.

  7. PeggySue March 14, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    I like Chris Hayes. I watch his Saturday/Sunday morning shows when I get a chance. He’s one of the few analysts who actually does tackle and dissect real issues without the constant Obama cheerleading. If Hayes is the replacement then kudos. Ezra Klein? I can’t stand him even for the temporary subbing he does at the network.

  8. Pilgrim March 14, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

    I’m inclined to like Chris Hayes, but when I try to listen to him, I have to give up because his diction, like that of Rachel Maddow, gets pretty convoluted. I suppose they are rather intelligent or something, but haven’t quite mastered the art of expressing their lofty logical reasoning clearly and concisely.

    • mjsmith March 14, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

      I wish there was a timer and they have to get to whatever point it is that they are trying to make before it goes off. I do get curious when I watch them, I just feel it takes too long to say whatever it is they are trying to say. I don’t watch either show very often. It seems to me that Rachel Maddow is more likely to have varying viewpoints in the discussion segments.

  9. secularhumanizinevoluter March 15, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    Yeah…those wonky liberals actually explaining in detail and using big words an stuff. Guess they should take lessons from limpwithnoballs, handjobity and OLielly huh?

    • mjsmith March 15, 2013 at 4:57 pm # – seems like you are not very knowledgeable in intelligent dialogue or conversation. Just because some wears nerdy glasses, it does not mean they are smart. People who are intelligent are capable of expressing ideas and making points in a timely manner. That is all.

      • secularhumanizinevoluter March 16, 2013 at 7:49 am #

        ” People who are intelligent are capable of expressing ideas and making points in a timely manner. That is all.”

        Exactly….those who “wears nerdy glasses” need to study the eloquence and logic displayed by your primary sources…faux not news, limpwithnoballs, handjobity, blech and OLielly. Then perhaps they can dumb down their delivery, manufacture out right lies and twist facts to the point that you will feel comfortable.

        Myself, I appreciate the detail and context these brilliant journalist/opinion professionals (and I would include Ms. Marsh)bring to the wider media and political discourse.
        I can understand how their constantly exposing the lies and hypocrisy of your sacred cows would turn you off however.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong