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Posts Tagged ‘Phil Griffin’

It’s Official: Thomas Roberts Named Host of MSNBC’s ‘Way Too Early’

thomas robertsThomas Roberts has officially been named host of MSNBC’s “Way Too Early.” He will begin in his new role on January 13, MSNBC president Phil Griffin announced this morning.

“Thomas’ unique personality and point of view are just the right mix to lead-in to ‘Morning Joe.’ Thomas has really found his voice in the past year and joining the ‘Morning Joe’ table gives him the opportunity to further develop it,” Griffin said in a statement.

Roberts takes over for Brian Shactman, who has been hosting the early-morning show since Willie Geist was named co-anchor of the 9 a.m. hour of “Today.”

The Daily Caller reported yesterday that Roberts’ move to the morning shift was an attempt to make MSNBC’s early-morning hours more “diverse.”

“Mika and I worked with Thomas in Oklahoma City after last spring’s tornado and became fans,” Joe Scarborough said in a statement provided to TVNewser. “Despite internet speculation, he was chosen based strictly on merit and not politically correct considerations.”

Read the full release from MSNBC after the jump. Read more

Brian Stelter Makes ‘Reliable Sources’ Debut

StelterRS304Brian Stelter, who filled in a few times on “Reliable Sources” the last few months, made his debut as host of the CNN media criticism show this morning. Stelter covered this week’s revolving media door, President Obama‘s media criticism, and the death of Nelson Mandela.

Stelter opened with a panel on Martin Bashir‘s resignation and Sam Champion‘s move to The Weather Channel.

NPR media critic Eric Deggans criticized MSNBC for not suspending Bashir immediately for Bashir’s vile comments toward Sarah Palin, while The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi doubted Bashir’s resignation, suggesting MSNBC President Phil Griffin probably asked him to leave, and allowed Bashir to resign. American University professor Jane Hall said if Bashir didn’t leave, MSNBC would be in the uncomfortable position of looking less bothered by vile comments toward women than about Alec Baldwin‘s anti-gay slurs.

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Martin Bashir Out at MSNBC

BashirBreaking: MSNBC host Martin Bashir is leaving the network.

Bashir hasn’t been on the air since Nov. 22. MSNBC said he was on a pre-planned vacation, but we’ve learned he resigned today. The departure follows comments he made about Sarah Palin on his Friday, Nov. 15 show.

Bashir called Palin a “dunce” and suggested she might be a candidate for the same treatment slaves received from a plantation owner named Thomas Thistewood: being urinated and defecated on.

After demands for an apology, he apologized, but remained on the air. As calls for a suspension grew louder, Bashir anchored the rest of the week before going on that vacation.

Bashir joined MSNBC in the summer of 2010, after six years with ABC News, part of that time as a host of “Nightline.”

More: Comments from Bashir and MSNBC president Phil Griffin after the jump…

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Sorry is Easy. In the Case of Martin Bashir, Suspension Seems to be the Hardest Word

Martin Bashir 304Judging strictly by precedent at MSNBC, if Martin Bashir had called Sarah Palin a ‘cocksucking fag,’ ‘right wing slut,’ ‘dick,’ ‘pimp,’ or ‘nappy headed ho,’ he would be on suspension, at the very least.

Instead, Bashir is a free man. All he said about Palin on Nov. 15 was that she should be forced to have someone defecate in her mouth and urinate in her eyes as punishment for her remarks on slavery.

What’s wrong with this picture? Plenty, if one considers MSNBC’s long history of Foot in Mouth disease. In every case, the commentator was either suspended or fired. In every case, the perps have been men, and in every case but one, the broadcast slurs have been aimed at women.

Ten days ago, actor Alec Baldwin was benched for two weeks after he was caught on video calling a paparazzi a ‘cocksucking fag.’ He may not return.

In 2011, Ed Schultz and Mark Halperin were both suspended — Schultz for labelling conservative commentator Laura Ingraham a ‘right wing slut,’ and Halperin for describing President Obama as a ‘dick.’ (Sidebar: If it had been Nixon, Halperin would have been technically correct.)

In ’08, David Shuster served two weeks for saying that Chelsea Clinton was being pimped out to support her mother’s campaign. And in ’07, Don Imus’ description of the Rutgers women’s basketball team as ‘nappy headed hos’ got him fired.

Like all his predecessors, Bashir apologized – the latest to join the celebrity culture of contrition. In a statement Friday, MSNBC said Bashir had also apologized to the Palin family, that he’s “committed to elevating the discourse” and that the network was handling the matter internally.

Still, many critics argue that Bashir deserves harsher punishment.

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President Obama Hosts Off-Record Meeting With MSNBC Hosts, Fox’s Juan Williams

obama speech_304x200President Obama held an off-the-record meeting yesterday with liberal commentators including MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, Lawrence O’Donnell, Ezra Klein, and Fox News’s Juan Williams.

Appearing with Jon Scott, Williams reported his discussion with the President was off-the-record, but senior officials told him they are in “full fight mode” over the problems with the Affordable Care Act.

Williams later showed up in primetime, where Sean Hannity criticized the President for inviting Schultz into the White House, saying a slur he made against Laura Ingraham 2 and a half years ago should disqualify him from a meeting with the president.

Williams notably reported that one MSNBC host, Martin Bashir, was not present. Bashir was the subject of a letter Sarah Palin‘s PAC sent to MSNBC President Phil Griffin and NBC News President Deborah Turness inquiring whether they will discipline him for his vile comments about Palin made a week ago today. Bashir apologized on Monday, and has hosted his show every night this week.

President Obama held a similar off-the-record meeting with conservative journalists in October.

Bill O’Reilly: Sarah Palin ‘Won’t Come On,’ Wants to Give ‘A Speech’

bill o'reilly_304x200In a segment about embattled MSNBC anchor Martin Bashir last night, Bill O’Reilly had news for Howard Kurtz: they booked him after first asking Sarah Palin, who O’Reilly revealed won’t do his program for fear of mixing it up.

“Sarah Palin won’t do this program. She won’t come on the program because she doesn’t want to mix it up. She doesn’t! She wants to give a speech, and nobody gives speeches here. Okay? So she doesn’t come on,” O’Reilly said. “We invited her on tonight. You’re here instead. But I don’t begrudge Sarah Palin that. She can come on. She doesn’t come on, she does come on, whatever she wants to do. Okay? Fine.”

Palin’s PAC has sent a letter to MSNBC president Phil Griffin and NBC News president Deborah Turness asking whether Bashir will be disciplined. She has also cancelled an upcoming interview with Matt Lauer. Bashir made the vile comments Friday, apologized Monday, and has hosted every day since.

The calls for Bashir to be punished have been the loudest on Fox News. Kurtz appeared twice on Fox news yesterday and wrote about it on FoxNews.com. Sean Hannity talked about it with Ann Coulter and put it to his audience, asking whether Bashir should be punished.

O’Reilly and Hannity clips after the jump…

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Report: Alec Baldwin ‘Not Welcome Back’ At MSNBC

AlecBaldwinUpLateThe New York Post is reporting that Alec Baldwin is not welcome back to MSNBC. Network insiders tells the Post that Baldwin’s work ethic, temper, and complaints about the “dry air” at 30 Rock might be enough to make his two week suspension permanent.

Sources exclusively tell us that MSNBC chiefs are not exactly falling over themselves to get boisterous Baldwin back in the building. One insider said, “He would only show up at work an hour a week to prep for the show, and when he did turn up, he was in an angry mood, red-faced, and shouting at all the staff. And he said the air at 30 Rock was too dry, it was bad for his voice, he needed a humidifier.”

Last night on the red carpet for “CNN Heroes,” Piers Morgan told TVNewser,I happen to like the guy, I don’t think he has a homophobic bone in his body. I just think he has a temper, and he just gets enraged when he sees these photographers chasing after his wife and baby.” That’s in contrast to the feeling Morgan’s colleague Anderson Cooper holds for Baldwin.

As for the suspended MSNBC host, a spokesperson tells the Post: “Every episode of ‘Up Late’ has beaten CNN and increased MSNBC’s audience in the time slot. Alec has been dedicated to developing ‘Up Late’ and spent hours each week in production. He’s got great ideas and has a collaborative relationship with the staff.”

How Alec Baldwin’s MSNBC Talk Show Came Together

AlecBaldwinUpLateAlec Baldwin says his new MSNBC talk show started with a pitch to NBC, before making its way to MSNBC. In a NYTimes Table for Three conversation with Baldwin, longtime TV talk show host Dick Cavett and the Times’ Philip Galanes:

PG: Did you have any reluctance about doing your show on MSNBC, Alec? Cable news channels are so tribal now. Are you kissing off half of your audience?

AB: First of all, there’s a certain part of the American public that if I walked out onto the ice and Barbara Bush had just fallen through, and I saved her from drowning and carried her to shore and performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and saved her from hypothermia, people would say, “He rumpled her coat!” My original conversations were with NBC, but they didn’t have a slot for me, and may not have a slot for some time. They’re shuffling their whole late night with Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers. Then Phil Griffin [the president of MSNBC] popped up and said, “I’ll give you a slot now.”

PG: Do you think MSNBC was hoping for a more combative Alec Baldwin than they’re getting?

AB: No, I told Phil what I wanted to do. They want to explore some different programming.

Pat Fili-Krushel on MSNBC’s Ratings, Matt Lauer’s Future at ‘Today’

NBCUniversal ExecutivesNBC News Group chairman Patricia Fili-Krushel gives a wide-ranging interview to The Hollywood Reporter‘s Marisa Guthrie. She answers questions on MSNBC’s ratings, the  now canceled Hillary Clinton miniseries project and Matt Lauer‘s future at the “Today” show:

Before he signed his contract in 2012, Matt Lauer explored doing daytime with Katie Couric and jumping to ABC News. If he did not want to stay on Today, would he still have a place at NBC News?

Absolutely. He is arguably the most talented interviewer across the morning television scene — there is no one like him. That’s a grueling time period — it’s a lot of television. It’s a lot of prep, and Matt really preps. We hope he wants to last out at least this contract on the Today show. But there’s a place for him not only at NBC News but also at the company.

Do you want him to stay on Today after his contract is up in 2015? Read more

As Shutdown Ends, A Toast to Chris Matthews’ Account of Political Compromise

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was feted last night at the New York book party for his seventh book, “Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked.” The book, a historical account of political opponents who managed to work together, coincidentally hit the shelves on the first day of the government shutdown.

Matthews arrived at P.J. Clarke’s in Lincoln Center shortly before the senate vote to end the shutdown Wednesday night. He told TVNewser he combined multiple sources — including news clips, President Reagan’s diaries and his own journal from his time in as O’Neill’s administrative assistant — to create a “hologram” account of the time period. Asked how he juggles it all, he said he wrote at home before and after his “Hardball” work day, joking that his wife began to refer to the chair in his office as “that chair.”

We also chatted with newly-minted MSNBC host Ronan Farrow, who says he’ll spend the next few months developing his vision for his show ahead of an early 2014 launch. (Farrow was coy about the show’s time slot, which MSNBC has so far only said will be a “weekday, one-hour” program.) Also on hand to toast Matthews at P.J. Clarke’s: MSNBC president Phil Griffin, Dan Rather, Mark Halperin, MSNBC analyst Ed Rendell and “CBS This Morning” executive producer Chris Licht.

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