Oh to be a fly on the wall of the NBC boardroom. “Gentlemen, we have the gang at MSNBC under contract. We have Al Sharpton. We have Maddow. We have Melissa Harris-Perry. We even tried to make it work with Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir, but alas, they just couldn’t deliver the goods.”
“Who can we hire that’s even further to the left? Surely, there has to be somebody out there, right?”
“Sir, there’s only man who fits that bill. And he’s got plenty of broadcast experience. Snappy dresser, great tone and enunciation. Two words. Just two simple words:
“Brilliant! Sign him up now, and have Bob Costas interview him from the 2014 Russian Olympics!”
Yesterday, Deadline.com noted that NBC-Universal “Adds Controversial Russian Journalist Vladimir Pozner To Olympics Coverage”:
Two days after announcing it had hired New Yorker editor (and former Washington Post Moscow bureau chief) David Remnick to provide SochiOlympicsNBCguest commentary on the network’s air during its coverage of the upcoming Sochi Winter Games, NBCUniversal announced it had hired Moscow-based TV journalist Vladimir Pozner as a correspondent for its Olympics coverage in Sochi. Pozner will appear with Bob Costas on a late-night program, offering a Russian perspective of the Games, the company said.
Vertu Constellation Launch Party In Moscow, Russia to Celebrate The Launch of the New Constellation Touch Screen Handset – Inside“With his deep Russian roots and American upbringing, Vladimir Pozner is uniquely qualified to provide a Russian outlook to our audience during the Sochi Olympics,” said Jim Bell, Executive Producer, NBC Olympics, in this morning’s announcement, calling this “another significant moment in Russia’s history.” Costas, know [sic] for his outspoken commentary, recently told The Associated Press he won’t comment on Russia’s so-called “gay propaganda” law that’s causing people to protest NBC’s participation in the upcoming Games because he’s hoping to land an interview with what AP called “responsible people.”
Pozner’s a controversial guy. About a year ago, Radio Free Europe reported he’d blasted the state of justice in Russia, over the abduction and alleged torture of opposition activist Leonid Razvozzhayev, as well as the prison sentences of Pussy Riot members. He’s not controversy-free in this country either. Pozner’s U.S. media experience, NBCU noted, includes co-hosting Pozner/Donahue – a syndicated weekly, issues-oriented roundtable program that aired on CNBC from 1991-1996 – and numerous appearances across the landscape, including NBC’s Today, and ABC’s Nightline.
For those who were fortunate enough not to be exposed to as much cable television as I watched in the late 1980s and early 1990s, allow me to flash back to that era, if only to describe the roomtone. At least compared with today’s “Triumph of the Vulgarians” on cable TV, it was a relatively classy affair. The A&E Network in its formative stages attempted to be something akin to PBS with commercials, or an American BBC — they even imported BBC shows, such as this segment on Mies van der Rohe. A&E and the USA network seemed to run Woody Allen movies every week, before Woody self-destructed with Soon Yi. MTV was still watchable, although the rot was setting in, even then. Their sister network VH-1 ran plenty of sophisticated adult pop (didn’t everyone have a crush on Sadé back then?), and a nifty jazz show on Sunday nights hosted by jazz musician Ben Sidran.