MSNBC has released the first promo for “Up Late with Alec Baldwin,” which premieres Friday, October 11 at 10pmET. The promo starts with Ed Schultz speaking to the camera, saying of the unidentified new host:
“A man who can restore balance to an unbalanced network, a man who will address the great issues of our time while keeping his emotions in check. Above all a man who values reason over passion and provides a soothing voice for these troubled times.”
In a new book, The Message, political journalist and the executive editor of MSNBC.com Richard Wolffe recalls a meeting between President Obama and liberal supporters during the 2012 campaign. His colleague, MSNBC host Ed Schultz, plays a part in it.
Ed Schultz sat listening to others opine before ripping into an impassioned plea for the president to stand up and fight. The forty-fourth president of the United States listened calmly and nodded his head, surprising his aides with a meek appearance that successfully masked how little patience he had for such criticism.
Media outlets picked up on this excerpt, writing that Schultz “ranted” at President Obama. On his radio show yesterday, Schultz responded to those reports, saying “There was no rant. There was no tirade. There was no engagement of negativity between me and the President of the United States.”
At 5 PM ET, Ed Schultz welcomed viewers to his new (old) program, which returned to weekdays after a few months relegated to the weekends. Schultz may find himself on-air a few hours earlier than his old program, but based on the first show it will look very similar to his primetime effort.
“Good evening America and and welcome to the Ed Show live from New York, its five o clock eastern, let’s get to work!” Schultz said, leading into a long clip reel showing some highlights from his program.
On “Hardball,” Chris Matthews decided to close his program with a brief essay about… himself. Specifically, how his life experiences affected his worldview.
“Here on ‘Hardball’ you can expect me to discuss history as it relates to now, you can expect to hear me analyze what politicians are doing today with what I have seen other politicians do before, and you can expect me to fight for the causes that stirred me in my 20s, when passions rose, minds were set, and life missions accepted,” Matthews said.
When Ed Schultz moves to 5pm next week on MSNBC, he’ll be taking over a timeslot held by “Hardball” for the last 8 years (as well as an earlier stint at 5pm in 2000-2001). “Hardball” is MSNBC’s longest running show. In fact, it’s older than the network itself having first premiered on CNBC in 1997. (Matthews’ association with NBC goes back even further to 1994 when he hosted a politics show on America’s Talking.) “Hardball” now gets one airing, at 7pmET.
We wanted to know how the viewership has been for the two airings recently.
Matthews at 5pm is watched by more viewers than at 7pm. At 5pm the average for the quarter-to-date is 602,000 total viewers. At 7pm, the average is 533,000 total viewers. The 7pm edition is a reair of the 5pm version most nights, and there are undoubtedly repeat viewers. Still, if added together (as other hosts whose shows reair like to do — Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity on Fox News among them) — the two airings make “Hardball” MSNBC’s most watched daily program.
While the 5pm edition scores more total viewers than at 7, the later edition of “Hardball” draws more younger viewers: 141,000 at 7 vs. 128,000 at 5, so far this quarter. And that pattern is true for all of 2013.
Schultz’s return to Monday through Friday, is — like nearly all decisions in cable news — for ratings. In his final quarter in the 8pmET timelsot (Q1 2013), the populist radio-turned-TV talker averaged 909,000 total viewers (this included a strong January for all of MSNBC). His replacement at 8pm, Chris Hayes is averaging 509,000 so far in Q3. Among younger viewers, Schultz averaged 208,000 in Q1, while Hayes is drawing 145,000 in Q3. MSNBC would be thrilled if Schultz can bring his 8pm numbers to 5pm.
The final “Harball with Chris Matthews” at 5pm has already aired — yesterday. Michael Smerconish is filling in tonight, and there will be a two-hour “Politics Nation with Al Sharpton” pre-empting the 7pm edition of “Hardball.”
“My big ask is that you adjust your evening ritual–and believe me I know it is a sweet time of day–to share your company with me at 7 o’clock, it is going to be our one-hour to share our points of view of what is going on in the country,” Matthews said. “I would really appreciate it after all these years for you to share your time with me starting as soon as it is possible for you at 7 o’clock.”
Matthews makes the switch to 7 PM exclusively starting next week.
Kathleen is a TV news veteran, having worked for 25 years at ABC’s Washington DC affiliate WJLA. Now, she is the chief communications officer for the Marriott hotel chain. She is apparently very adept at her job, as she manged to work in a line about the vast number of Marriott hotels in the Middle East into the newscast.
While interviewing Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) about the crisis in Egypt, Matthews had this to say:
“Senator Corker, as you may know in my day job, I work for Marriott International, the hotel company. We have about 45 hotels over there in the North Africa region, four of them actually in Cairo,” Matthews said, noting that the Cairo hotels are only at 25% guest capacity. “Tourism, day to day economic life in Egypt is really taking a toll. My company sees it firsthand, I know you have seen it firsthand visiting that region.”
Update: Video of the interview is below. Read more
MSNBC is changing up its weekday lineup in a significant way, moving Ed Schultz from weekends back to weekdays.
Schultz will take over the 5 PM weekday slot starting next Monday, while Chris Matthews‘ ”Hardball” will now air only once per day at 7 PM. Before, “Hardball” aired at 5 PM, with a replay at 7 PM.
“Chris and the ‘Hardball’ team have been the cornerstone of our evening lineup, pulling double duty for us at both 5p and 7p for years,” wrote MSNBC president Phil Griffin in a note to staff obtained by TVNewser. “This move will help us enhance the flow of our weeknight programming and concentrate Chris’ audience to one key time period. And this allows us to bring Ed’s powerful voice back to the Monday-Friday schedule. Ed connects with our viewers and I’m happy to have him back five nights a week. I’ve been thinking about making this change for quite a while and I know now is the right time with the right shows.”
It isn’t a secret that MSNBC has had a rough year so far, anyone reading our daily scoreboard has seen it. The National Journal‘s Matthew Cooper attempts to parse the ratings decline, and comes up with a number of theories:
One common theory is that MSNBC feels threatened by a resurgent CNN… Other insiders posited the theory of progressive decline — liberals are less fired up now that we’re in the second term of the Obama administration… Critics also suggest that MSNBC no longer has much diversity in the evenings… Some believe the network suffered from moving blunt Ed Schultz to the weekend.
MSNBC has branded itself as “The Place for Politics,” and right now people just aren’t that into politics. There is no political campaign going on, and no election coming up. While there are policy disputes, and the George Zimmerman trial has political undertones, MSNBC has bet the farm on insider political coverage, and right now there isn’t much insider coverage to present.
“As you know, MSNBC over the last few years has changed, and we are really making an effort to reflect this country in the 21st century, and I am not sure that there are many news and information outlets really doing that, I think most of them are stuck in the 20th century,” MSNBC president Phil Griffin said at an event to announce the partnership Thursday evening. “We are taking a huge team [to the festival], because this is so important to us. This fits with who we want to be, and what we are about.”