Does Lawrence O'Donnell's move back to 10 p.m. show the impact of Keith Olbermann at Current TV?
Does MSNBC's decision to move Lawrence O'Donnell back to 10 p.m. have anything to do with the rise of Current TV?
The cable newschannel announced today that O'Donnell will move back from 8 p.m. to his original 10 p.m. timeslot on Monday, making room for Ed Schultz to shift from 10 p.m. up to 8 p.m. The flip in show airtimes comes a few weeks after rival CNN crowed about Anderson Cooper finding success over O'Donnell after Cooper's own move to 8 p.m. earlier this year.
According to the New York Times, O'Donnell's ratings in September were down about 100,000 viewers from predecessor Keith Olbermann's level in 2010.
Onetime MSNBC star Olbermann may not be drawing huge numbers at Current TV, but his absence could be splitting the already smaller numbers for viewers willing to watch a liberal-skewing program. Current TV seems to be positioning itself as a even more liberal alternative to MSNBC, hiring former MSNBC anchor Cenk Uygur to host aversion of his online program The Young Turks at 7 p.m. and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm in The War Room at 9 p.m. in early 2012, bracketing Olbermann's broadcast.
Which raises the question: Is cable TV ready for two newschannels aggressively courting liberal viewers?
MSNBC's release is below:
NEW YORK – October 19, 2011 – Starting Monday, October 24th, “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” will move back to its original time slot of 10 p.m. ET/PT, Monday-Thursday. “The Ed Show” with Ed Schultz will lead off MSNBC’s primetime lineup each weeknight at 8 p.m. ET/PT. The announcement was made today by Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC. “The Rachel Maddow Show” will continue to air live at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
“This move will strengthen the flow of our programming throughout the evening. As the name implies, “The Last Word” belongs at the conclusion of our programming day, thoughtfully wrapping-up the day’s political dialogue,” said Griffin. “Ed’s passionate voice is a perfect kick off to primetime at 8 p.m.”
“The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” debuted in September 2010 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on MSNBC and moved to the 8 p.m. ET/PT time slot in January 2011. “The Ed Show” launched in April 2009 at 6 p.m. ET on MSNBC and replaced “The Last Word” at 10 pm ET/PT in January 2011.
Izzy Povich is the senior executive producer of “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” and Greg Kordick is executive producer. Rich Stockwell is the executive producer of “The Ed Show.”