MSNBC will shift Tucker Carlson’s low-rated talk show out of prime-time in much of the country to 11 p.m. EDT, with ex-Fox News Channel anchor Rita Cosby filling his time slot.
Since its debut June 13, the bow-tied conservative’s show has averaged 201,000 viewers, 25 percent fewer than its time-slot predecessor, “The Abrams Report,” had in May, according to Nielsen Media Research.
MSNBC reminded reporters yesterday that Cosby scored an exclusive interview with Jermaine and Tito Jackson on her first day at MSNBC last month. She will begin “Rita Cosby: Live and Direct” Aug. 8.
So, if you’re scoring at home, that’s:
– Hardball, hosted by faux liberal Chris Matthews
– Countdown, hosted by actual liberal Keith Olbermann
– Live and Direct, hosted by Rita Cosby, formerly of Fox News.
– Scarborough Country, hosted by former conservative congressman Joe Scarborough
– The Situation, hosted by mainstream conservative Tucker Carlson
Rick Kaplan has engineered the change at MSNBC — The Situation was the first show he created — and thus far, he hasn’t helped the network escape cellar-dwellar status.
How low were Carlson’s ratings? How about 10% of Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes and 17% of CNN’s Larry King Live? Ouch.
But here’s the dirty secret Kaplan won’t admit. None of MSNBC’s right-tilting shows (and I include Hardball in that category) do well in the ratings. They all get clobbered, no matter how many RNC talking points they recite, and no matter how many right-tilting panels they showcase.
Memo to Kaplan: People on the left side of the aisle watch television, too.
Instead of creating Fox News-lite, shoot for balance. Take Bill Moyers’ advice and, rather than retreading the same mix of pundits over and over, introduce guests at the “grassroots level,” as Moyers puts it.
Maybe we’d all learn something, and MSNBC might finally get some viewers.
This article first appeared at Journalists Against Bush’s B.S.