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.