The PJ Tatler

As MSNBC Hits Skids, The Nation Whines: 'I Want My Progressive TV!'

Oh, the humanity! Oh, the butthurt:

… Andy Lack, the NBC News and MSNBC chairman who, since taking over in March, has wiped out all of MSNBC’s daytime liberal opinion shows. The idea, the network says, is to rebrand dayside as an extension of NBC News. As for prime time, Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews will keep their shows, but the future of Chris Hayes’s All In and Lawrence O’Donnell’s Last Word are up in the air.

MSNBC will also reportedly expand Morning Joe, a show with low ratings but an influential Beltway audience, from three to four hours a day. The extra hour would give center-right and center-left opinion shows roughly equal airtime on the network that’s considered the left’s best answer to the mighty Fox News.

So if Joe Scarborough, who regularly browbeats any libber ooze out of his co-hosts and guests, is thrilled with the changes at MSNBC, where does that leave progressives? Should we mourn that, along with Jon Stewart’s exit, one of the few venues for daily progressive politics on TV is, at best, shrinking? Or should we shrug—since how much of a force for lefty ideas can any corporate-owned commercial entity truly be?

Boo, and may I add, freakin’ Hoo. To get a dose of “progressive” news media, the forlorn Nation readers — all ten of them — need only visit the nearest newsstand or simply change the channel to anything but Fox News. Although, the times they are a-changin’…

One thing is clear: MSNBC’s parade of liberal anchors over the past several years—all pretty much following the same host-desk-panel formula—tanked in the ratings game. In the first quarter of this year, MSNBC’s numbers in the desirable 25-to-54 sales demographic hit an all-time low, dropping 39 percent compared to the same period in 2014. In February, Lack axed the low-rated Joy Reid and Ronan Farrow shows. In July, it was Now With Alex Wagner, The Cycle, and Ed Schultz’s The Ed Show. Reid, Farrow, Wagner, and The Cycle’s Ari Melber landed other gigs at the network; Ed Schultz, the only consistent voice for labor on all of television, did not. Al Sharpton’s Monday-to-Friday show has been squeezed to just one hour: 8 am on Sundays.

But take heart — all is not lost!

Not only are the suits keeping Maddow, who pulls MSNBC’s highest numbers (she often beats Anderson Cooper on CNN, although Fox’s Megyn Kelly crushes them both), but they won’t rule out bringing back Olbermann. “I’ve heard plenty of people I know to be credible who say that Andy would be open to it, given the right conditions,” a different MSNBC insider told me. Of course, since the “right conditions” might never materialize, any talk of Olbermann’s return could be a feint. But the point is that MSNBC wants big names with ratings punch, and being a lib is not necessarily a problem.

The story, in standard Nation fashion, bangs on and on, whistling past the graveyard of Progressive hopes, dreams and aspirations. Savor every word.

Watch MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Roll Her Eyes at Netanyahu