Tag Archives: KeithOlbermann

MSNBC’s Collapse Began With The Departure of Keith Olbermann

bill-o-olbermann

First let me say that I don’t think MSNBC is “collapsing” as stated.  I will agree that Keith Olbermann was an asset to the network and MSNBC struggled to stay above water for a while.

During the 2012 election cycle the network was leading in certain markets.  That distinction dissipated shortly after the 2012 election…

PoliticusUSA

MSNBC’s ratings have plunged this year, and the the domino effect of bad decisions that have killed the network’s ratings began with the departure of Keith Olbermann.

Last week, Olbermann himself took to Twitter and said a bit about his former employer’s ratings. First Olbermann retweeted, “This is sarcasm, yes? RT @JonahsSeafood Very, Very impressive #ratings @msnbc. Especially without the help of @KeithOlbermann. @maddow great job filling his void.”

 

When he was asked if he was taking a shot at Maddow, the former Countdown host replied:

 

@Mishyana It’s about the collapse of that network. I don’t know anything about her any more;  she hasn’t bothered to speak to me since I left

 

Olbermann suggested that the network is in a state of collapse, and the second quarter ratings for 2013 have proven him right. MSNBC’s primetime is down 16% overall, and 12% with younger viewers. The primetime numbers for individual programs are even worse.

All In With Chris Hayes has been a complete ratings disaster. Hayes has lost 28% of The Ed Show’s viewers, and he is down 10% from Ed Schultz’s ratings with younger viewers. Hayes’ ratings struggles have led to Rachel Maddow having her worst quarter since 2008. Maddow’s struggles have led to Lawrence O’Donnell losing 15% of his total viewers, and 22% of his younger viewers.

MSNBC’s ratings decline can be traced back to three bad decisions.

The decision that started their decline was the departure of Keith Olbermann from the network. MSNBC head Phil Griffin thought that he could replace Olbermann with Lawrence O’Donnell. That decision spectacularly failed, but his next choice for the timeslot would prove to be more of a winner. Ed Schulz was the perfect fit for MSNBC’s 8 PM. His program had a bit of the sort of emotion and tone that Olbermann’s did. MSNBC rose to second in the cable news ratings. Occasionally, they even beat ratings leader Fox News.

However, earlier this year Phil Griffin made his second bad decision. Griffin decided that Schultz’s old school liberalism didn’t fit with the primetime lineup that he wanted to build. Griffin wanted a clone army of Maddow wonk nerds in primetime, and the blustery blue collar Schultz didn’t fit the bill. This resulted in Ed being shuffled off to the weekends to make room for Griffin’s third bad decision.

In his quest for hipper and younger viewers, Griffin installed Chris Hayes as the new 8 PM host. The Hayes that was smooth on his weekend morning show was quickly replaced by a host that has been at times painful to watch. Chris Hayes is the round peg that MSNBC keeps trying to fit into the square hole. It isn’t working. Nearly 30% of the viewers who tuned in for Ed have tuned out Chris Hayes. The flood of new young viewers hasn’t materialized, and Hayes is looking more and more like the television equivalent of a death row inmate.

MSNBC could have been positioning itself as a future challenger to Fox News. Instead, potential MSNBC viewers have moved over to a revived CNN. It is impossible to predict where MSNBC might be today if Keith Olbermann was still anchoring 8 PM, but the network would likely be in better shape than they currently are.

There is no chance of Olbermann coming back to MSNBC. He will be anchoring TBS’s MLB postseason coverage, and it being reported that he is talks with ESPN to host a late night talk show on ESPN 2. If the ratings for All In don’t improve, the move that makes the most sense is convincing Ed Schultz to come back to primetime, and sending Chris Hayes back to the weekends.

MSNBC has filled their bench with Maddow clone wonks, and unless they really want to break the mold and promote an African-American woman, it looks like they are going to sink or swim with Hayes.

Looking back, it’s clear that MSNBC’s downfall began with the bad decision to let Keith Olbermann walk out the door.

Olbermann suggested that the network is in a state of collapse, and the second quarter ratings for 2013 have proven him right. MSNBC’s primetime is down 16% overall, and 12% with younger viewers. The primetime numbers for individual programs are even worse.

All In With Chris Hayes has been a complete ratings disaster. Hayes has lost 28% of The Ed Show’s viewers, and he is down 10% from Ed Schultz’s ratings with younger viewers. Hayes’ ratings struggles have led to Rachel Maddow having her worst quarter since 2008. Maddow’s struggles have led to Lawrence O’Donnell losing 15% of his total viewers, and 22% of his younger viewers.

MSNBC’s ratings decline can be traced back to three bad decisions.

The decision that started their decline was the departure of Keith Olbermann from the network. MSNBC head Phil Griffin thought that he could replace Olbermann with Lawrence O’Donnell. That decision spectacularly failed, but his next choice for the timeslot would prove to be more of a winner. Ed Schulz was the perfect fit for MSNBC’s 8 PM. His program had a bit of the sort of emotion and tone that Olbermann’s did. MSNBC rose to second in the cable news ratings. Occasionally, they even beat ratings leader Fox News.

However, earlier this year Phil Griffin made his second bad decision. Griffin decided that Schultz’s old school liberalism didn’t fit with the primetime lineup that he wanted to build. Griffin wanted a clone army of Maddow wonk nerds in primetime, and the blustery blue collar Schultz didn’t fit the bill. This resulted in Ed being shuffled off to the weekends to make room for Griffin’s third bad decision.

In his quest for hipper and younger viewers, Griffin installed Chris Hayes as the new 8 PM host. The Hayes that was smooth on his weekend morning show was quickly replaced by a host that has been at times painful to watch. Chris Hayes is the round peg that MSNBC keeps trying to fit into the square hole. It isn’t working. Nearly 30% of the viewers who tuned in for Ed have tuned out Chris Hayes. The flood of new young viewers hasn’t materialized, and Hayes is looking more and more like the television equivalent of a death row inmate.

MSNBC could have been positioning itself as a future challenger to Fox News. Instead, potential MSNBC viewers have moved over to a revived CNN. It is impossible to predict where MSNBC might be today if Keith Olbermann was still anchoring 8 PM, but the network would likely be in better shape than they currently are.

There is no chance of Olbermann coming back to MSNBC. He will be anchoring TBS’s MLB postseason coverage, and it being reported that he is talks with ESPN to host a late night talk show on ESPN 2. If the ratings for All In don’t improve, the move that makes the most sense is convincing Ed Schultz to come back to primetime, and sending Chris Hayes back to the weekends.

MSNBC has filled their bench with Maddow clone wonks, and unless they really want to break the mold and promote an African-American woman, it looks like they are going to sink or swim with Hayes.

Looking back, it’s clear that MSNBC’s downfall began with the bad decision to let Keith Olbermann walk out the door.

 

 

 

 

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Current TV Files a Blistering Countersuit Against Fired Anchor Keith Olbermann

Keith Olbermann Poor Keith Olbermann, he even admitted that he “screwed up” just taking the job over at Current TV.  The saga continues…

The Daily Beast

The network excoriates its fired anchor by painting him as an arrogant and uncooperative slacker. Howard Kurtz on the latest round in the legal war.

Moving a day after Olbermann sued the network for up to $70 million, the suit says that he “completely shut himself off from the rest of the network”—and backed it up with a series of intemperate-sounding emails from its former star.

For instance, after a problem with an unspecified employee during an appearance by Michael Moore on his show, Olbermann wrote Joel Hyatt, Al Gore’s cofounder at Current: “Give me a name so I know which of them to kill with my bare hands.”

After learning that a photo of the Countdown set had been given to the press, Olbermann wrote Hyatt about the leaker: “Can you assassinate him please?”

Even allowing for comedic overstatement, Olbermann’s tone is often harsh. When Current president David Bohrman asked about the unauthorized purchase of a $5,300 desk for the program, Olbermann responded: “When you are prepared to act like an adult you are welcome to contact us again.”

In response, Olbermann said in a statement: “The Mets put Andres Torres on the DL today. That seems to have as much relevance to my lawsuit as the Current counterclaim I just read.”

Continue reading here…

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Current TV Fires Keith Olbermann, Replaces Him With Eliot Spitzer

I really like Keith Olbermann as a news person.  I hope he will be back on air soon…

TV Newser

It was just over a year ago that former MSNBC host Keith Olbermannannounced he was joining Current TV, and today, that relationship officially came to an end. According to the New York TimesBrian Stelter, Olbermann is out at Current, and will be replaced by former CNN host and New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer will take over the 8 PM slot starting  tonight.

Update: Current CEO Joel Hyatt and co-founder Al Gore released a statement about the move.

Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it.

The full letter is after the jump.

Update 2: Olbermann has released his own statement via Twitter, saying that he plans to file suit against the network.

I’d like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV.  Editorially, Countdown had never been better.  But for more than a year I have been imploring @AlGore and @JoelHyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I’ve been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff.  Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract. It goes almost without saying that the claims against me in Current’s statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently.

Olbermann’s full statement is after the jump.

Continue reading here…

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