Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Giving Morning Joe A Weekend Show On NBC Is Not A Good Idea

MSNBC hosts look into taking on weekend gig
Courtesy: NYP
The New York Post is reporting that Joe and Mika are vying to take over The Today Show........on Sundays. Here's the scoop from Claire Atkinson:

MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” team of Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski is looking to expand their empire — perhaps by expanding their show onto NBC’s once-golden Sunday morning lineup, The Post has learned.
While no such deal is done, persons close to the show have been telling friends that the team is taking over “Weekend Today” ’s Sunday show, sources said.
The talks are very much fluid and there is no guarantee of any expansion, other sources said.
The show would most likely be a live one-hour version of what they normally do on weekdays at MSNBC. The duo made a play to try and take over Meet The Press' timeslot as well, but those hopes were immediately dashed because of Deborah Turness' desire to keep David Gregory in the fray. It also would've been groundbreaking and shocking if NBC decided to cancel one of television's longest running franchises.
This move is being looked at as a way to boost NBC's political programming so that "Meet The Press" has a better lead-in, but it's a terrible idea. "Morning Joe" and "Weekend Today" have two different audiences. "Weekend Today" is for all the moms who are either getting ready for church or planning out how they're going to spend the day with their kids while "Morning Joe" is an extremely wonky show for political geeks.
Based on "Weekend Today"'s current ratings (up 8.4 percent from last year), you're more likely to find the audience group of mothers at that timeslot than you would political geeks. Why take the risk of changing viewing patterns and losing even more viewers? Viewers don't like change for the most part and a lower rated replacement of "Weekend Today" would wreak havoc for "Meet the Press," which is already in danger.
Courtesy: Vanity Fair
I understand why Mika and Joe would want to expand their empire especially because they're stuck on MSNBC, whose format for the rest of the day doesn't match the content normally seen on their show, but taking over "Weekend Today" is the wrong approach. In my opinion, if they do want a weekend show, it would make more sense to take over the 10am time slot. Either NBC could ask it's affiliates to give up an hour of programming after "Meet the Press" for the show OR it could simply go the syndication route and take over the affiliates left behind after "The Chris Matthews Show" got canceled.
NBC wants to keep Joe and Mika satisfied because they've provided MSNBC with great stability in the morning which is why they're probably open to this move but NBC should also realize that there's really nowhere else for them to go and that they have the leverage in this situation. Don't take the risk of losing more Sunday morning viewers when there's no reason to (MTP can easily be fixed if Savannah Guthrie takes over full time but that's another story for another day).
The only way they go to CBS and reunite with Chris Licht is if CBS finds a way to expand their morning show past 9am. Joe and Mika could take over the 9-10am hour and provide a serious alternative to Kelly and Michael/Willie, Al and Natalie; but will affiliates be willing to give up an hour of syndication? On ABC, they could relieve George Stephanapolous of his "This Week" duties, but would Joe and Mika be satisfied with only one show, once a week? CNN just started a new morning show and probably isn't looking to go more political with Jake Tapper and Wolf Blitzer already under their belt. And unless they did a primetime show for Bloomberg, I doubt Bloomberg would want to air a political show as markets are opening in the morning (even though FBN does do that). Nobody would be able to watch them on AJA and do we even need to ponder about Fox? Mika working for Fox? Really, lol?
1. How awkward is it that this is the second time Morning Joe has been rumored to take over the timeslot for a show hosted by Erica Hill? (Morning Joe almost took over the Early Show, hosted on CBS by Erica Hill)
2. If Joe and Mika were to ever decide to leave MSNBC, could Politico be a wild card to take their services? Politico is already prominently featured on their show and just like everyone else on the internet, they're looking to expand their video ventures. Also, Politico has a close relationship with C-SPAN. Maybe a Politico-owned and produced Morning Joe is distributed on TV through C-SPAN, C-SPAN 2 or C-SPAN 3? Maybe C-SPAN moves Washington Journal to C-SPAN 2 while Morning Joe takes over C-SPAN 1?
3. Morning Joe is also in talks for a syndicated program according to the New York Post piece but there's no word on whether that's on TV or on the radio. Joe and Mika in syndication on TV possibly talking about social issues like Miley, who Mika is so fond of, would be pretty interesting. A syndicated radio show would also be intriguing although I'm not sure where they would go. Maybe back to WABC?
RADICAL IDEA TO KEEP JOE AND MIKA HAPPY: Fox recently made a move which, in my opinion, was one of the riskiest moves in cable history. They split the audience of FX between their comedy viewers and drama viewers. So far FXX, which is home to all of FX's comedy programming, is actually doing well in the ratings and viewers easily adapted to the changes.
MSNBC's brand is already way too aligned with liberalism. It's website is full of young liberal writers and throughout the day and into the weekend: Alex Wagner, panelists on The Cycle, Martin Bashir, Chris Matthews, Ed Shultz, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Al Sharpton, Lawrence O'Donnell etc. all spread a liberal narrative which ends up diluting the news product which exists on the network aka Morning Joe, Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell, Tamron Hall. Why not split the two brands of programming?
Instead of shutting down G4, why not move a straight politics and lifestyle network to G4's placement. This way, MSNBC would finally be free and come out of it's liberal closet. The politics and lifestyle network, which we'll just call NBC News Network, could unofficially make Joe and Mika, the faces of the network. They could give Joe and Mika the ability to run past 10am if they wanted to and bypass commercial breaks if a free flowing conversation on their show is getting interesting. They could even give Joe and Mika, a similar ability which Shepard Smith has, the power to break into the network whenever they wanted to.
MSNBC on the other hand, would be able to finally live out as an openly liberal network. To supplement the liberal programming, they could also air more programming which is targeted for ethnic audiences (i.e. ALMA Awards/Al Sharpton's Renewing the Dream Special) and could serve as the unofficial cable network for African-American and Latino issues to be prominently featured and discussed.
NBC News Network could supplement it's political programming on the dayside with true crime shows on the nightside. HLN is starting to move towards women's lifestyle and away from crime programming, which is still a highly rated genre which many are compelled to watch. 
Maybe a new network in the future whose stars are Joe and Mika?
NBC News Network could serve as Washington, D.C.'s unofficial cable network (an idea from BuzzFeed's Dorsey Shaw) with different shows featuring political wonks from the internet, columnists at Politico/Washington Post and Congressmen. It could build the network to mean just as much to the political arena as CNBC does for the financial arena and at the helm would be NBC's biggest political all-stars, Joe and Mika.
Hell, maybe Albritton Communications takes some financial burden in this project and takes half ownership to form "The Politico Network"? They have enough money to do something like this after all that money they received from the Sinclair deal and they have experience running a 24/7 news network (News Channel 8). Also, NBC hasn't been afraid of these kinds of partnerships in the past (i.e. Esquire Network, A&E Networks) so it wouldn't be a shocker if they tried it again (and don't forget, Joe writes for Politico). But the likelihood of this happening is slim to none since Albritton wants to expand digitally (i.e. their deal to take over Capital New York) and because the Sinclair deal hasn't closed yet.

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