Are the heads of Alex Wagner, Ed Schultz, and Chris Hayes on the chopping block at White House cable news organ MSNBC?
According to Mediaite’s Andrew Kirell, the new NBC News president is asking the three programs to prove that they’re viable. NBC News honcho Andrew Lack is reportedly showing up at MSNBC editorial meetings held by Phil Griffin and sources say he’s “underwhelmed” with what he sees.
Mediaite has learned that Lack is now beginning to take an active role in the herculean task of trying to right that left-leaning ship: Specifically, Lack is now often attending MSNBC chief Phil Griffin‘s 11:30 a.m. editorial meetings; and, to quote one witness, Lack regularly appears “underwhelmed” with the story pitches.
A couple of weeks ago, the executive producers of Now with Alex Wagner, The Ed Show, and All In with Chris Hayes were told to prepare “sizzle reels” of the best their programs have to offer. Theoretically, this exercise will help them identify what works best on their respective shows but, in reality, our sources say, any or all of these shows could soon be on the chopping block. The senior staffs of all three programs, we are told, are now concerned that their days are numbered.
Mediaite has also been told that Lack is considering a total overhaul of MSNBC’s daytime programming. The days of Lack’s predecessor Patricia Fili-Krushel deferring to Griffin’s judgment on programming are, according to our sources, officially over.
The progressive network dumped the shows of Ronan Farrow and Joy Reid a few months ago due to their poor ratings. Wagner, Shultz and Hayes may soon follow in their footsteps for the same reason. But the unnamed elephant in the room is the Reverend Al Sharpton, whose show Politics Nation also consistently suffers from poor ratings.
Via Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:
At least implied in the Mediaite report, Politics Nation with Al Sharpton isn’t under the same level of scrutiny — yet. However, a new report from National Review’s Jillian Kay Melchior might change that. Sharpton has featured union officials after having received hefty donations to his charity National Action Network, itself under fire for its questionable practices:
Since Politics Nation debuted on MSNBC on August 29, 2011, Al Sharpton’s nonprofit National Action Network has collected more than $2.38 million in contributions from unions, according to Department of Labor records. Meanwhile, Sharpton has often used his show to promote pro-labor viewpoints, also inviting union leadership on as guests. …
Not to put too fine a point on it, but we’re talking about “payola,” which is heavily frowned upon in the news business.
If Andrew Lack is serious about putting MSNBC on a path toward respectability (and the higher ratings that come with it), Al Sharpton will need to go, too.