Tucker Carlson Loses MSNBC Gig to David Gregory
It's hard to know what to make of MSNBC's latest change -- which eliminates bratty conservative Tucker Carlson's snarky mid-day show next Monday in favor of a 6 p.m. showcase for rising star David Gregory, dubbed Race for the White House.
My source at MSNBC says it is just about ratings -- Carlson didn't do so well the in the years the cable channel gave him to find an audience. But I also find it interesting that MSNBC has shouldered a lot of criticism for other hosts offering commentary insensitive to women just as the cable channel lets go of a show which had become a good example of that approach.
If these complaints were the camel breaking straw, MSNBC is sure to offer a different tack with Gregory's Race to the White House. Gregory, who has won attention both for his aggressive questioning of administration officials as White house correspondent and his ease at filling in as a substitute anchor of the Today show, will keep covering the White House while hosting this daily show.
That means, he'll have to be careful about expressing views as an anchor which may compromise his ability to access sources in his job as a reporter. Frankly, even though a rising star like Gregory needs a showcase, I don't know how he's going to find the time to be an effective reporter and topline a weekday show. Also, with cable increasingly turning towards opinionated talkers like Dobbs, Beck and Olbermann, does it really make sense to build a show around a guy who won't be able to reveal many opinions?
That said, I have always felt that MSNBC's ties with NBC News were an underutilized asset in everyday programming. Giving a high profile NBC News face an MSNBC show helps solidify that connection at a time when interest in politics is at an all-time high.
The change also keeps intact MSNBC's string of middle-aged white guys hosting shows from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., though foreign affairs reporter Andrea Mitchell, who has also helped out with a lot of campaign coverage, will host a hourlong 1 p.m. show.
The changes will be implemented with MSNBC's typical flair -- which means other schedule changes also take effect next Monday sure to confuse viewers.
So here's the lowdown, starting March 17:
Race to the White House with David Gregory at 6 p.m.
Countdown with Keith Olbermann at 8 p.m.
Verdict with Dan Abrams at 9 p.m.
New rebroadcast of Countdown at 10 p.m.
Three-hour "Doc-Block" with NBC News documentaries at 11 p.m.
New rebroadcast of Countdown at 2 a.m. (11 p.m. on the West Coast, which is the audience they're shooting for)
And for a look at Gregory's softer side, here's a clip of him busting a move on Today: