Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Carlson Signs With MSNBC, Tilting Their Line-Up Further Right

Tucker Carlson made it official, signing a contract yesterday with MSNBC.

Carlson, formerly of the defunct CNN show Crossfire(, will replace apolitical Deborah Norville.

MSNBC, dead last among the big three cable news networks, is hoping to strengthen its lineup by appeasing the conservative wing of its audience. If you're keeping score at home, the prime-time lineup now features:

-- Joe Scarborough (former Florida Republican Congressman, and friend of all things conservative, especially the religious right).
-- Tucker Carlson (former conservative half of CNN's Crossfire)
-- Chris Matthews (former top aide to Tip O'Neill, but more noteworthy of late for unbalanced panels featuring a mix of mainstream journalists and conservatives, such as Stephen Hayes, Pat Buchanan or Scarborough. Matthews has been rumored to be seeking a move to Fox News).
-- Keith Olbermann (left-leaning review of the day's events.)

Even if you think Olbermann is a liberal extremist (he's not) and want to call Matthews a centrist, the MSNBC gameplan is pretty clear. For the record, Phil Donahue's long-ago canceled MSNBC show drew higher ratings than its successor, Scarborough Country. Donahue also drew higher ratings most nights than Matthews' Hardball. But Donahue was officially dumped for "low ratings."

Will MSNBC's ratings rise with Carlson? The answer is likely yes, although that has more to do with the woefully dull Norville than anything the bow-tied conservative has to say.

Should Matthews finally leave for Fox, I volunteer that MSNBC should replace him with a left-leaning host. I wonder what kind of ratings Al Franken would be able to muster. Hmmm.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tucker Carlson will do as much for MSNBC's ratings as Dennis Miller does for CNBC. He has no TV presence to speak of and is a lousy interviewer. If he didn't take his fashion cues from George F. Will, people would have a very hard time remembering him.

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a thought: If Matthews goes to Fox, how about MSNBC hiring Mo Rocca to do a variation on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart idea?

Rocca used to be with Daily Show, and was on CNN with Larry King during the conventions.

9:47 AM  

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