MSNBC Cancels Shows, Adds Brian Williams To Daytime Lineup For More Breaking News Coverage, Chuck Todd Returns
MSNBC canceled three shows – The Cycle, Now with Alex Wagner and The Ed Show – in an attempt to rebrand the left-leaning network. The struggling channel wants to offer more news and less opinion.
After months of gossiping, the official announcement came on Thursday. Liberal cable news network MSNBC has decided to cancel three shows from its daytime lineup. The Cycle, Now with Alex Wagner and The Ed Show aired for the last time on Friday.
The shift in tone comes after MSNBC fell behind rivals – Fox News and CNN – in the ratings race. The network wants to put more focus on breaking news and unbiased coverage in daytime with people like Chuck Todd and Brian Williams, who will start new programs in September.
Todd, the host of Meet The Press on NBC, is set to anchor a political show at 5 pm that will probably share some similarities with The Daily Rundown. The political director for NBC News hosted the news talk show from 2010 to 2014. Todd was replaced by José Diaz-Balart.
Williams, the former anchor of NBC Nightly News, will be in charge of breaking news and special reports. The journalist was forced to leave his previous job in February 2015 after it was discovered that he “misrepresented events which occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003,” according to NBC News President Deborah Turness. Many TV experts see this demotion as a second chance for Williams, who was once very popular and well respected. Interesting fact, Williams was the face of MSNBC when it launched in 1996. Almost 20 years later, he comes back to save it, and himself.
The future of MSNBC could include more changes. All In with Chris Hayes and Politics Nation with Al Sharpton are not performing well in primetime; these programs could be replaced by fresher and less liberal voices in the upcoming months.
MSNBC is hoping to reconcile its serious journalistic side – Todd, Williams and Andrea Mitchell – with its unapologetic liberal stars – Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Chris Matthews. It will do so through a greater convergence with reporters working at NBC News. MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a memo Thursday:
In the coming weeks, as we complete our plans to create a new look and flow for our dayside programming, our 3pm to 6pm hours will begin the pivot towards live, breaking news coverage – with interim hosts from among our very talented ranks. And then, in September, we’ll unveil a 9am to 5pm schedule driven by dynamic coverage of breaking news events that are shaping the day.
Change can be hard. There’s no doubt it’s been a difficult time, but we have exciting opportunities ahead.
Alex Wagner and Ari Melber will stay on MSNBC, while Ed Schultz, Krystal Ball, Abby Huntsman and Touré are leaving the network. Schultz did not even bother saying goodbye to his audience on Friday. The last show was hosted by Michael Eric Dyson.
MSNBC cancels shows with too much opinion and not enough ratings, this probably signals a new era in cable news television. Liberals felt betrayed by the move, while people in the middle are welcoming the change. However, a central question remains, can MSNBC still attract viewers?
What are your thoughts of the cancelled MSNBC shows? Can the network rebound? What do you think could save MSNBC?