Former NBC comedy star and MSNBC interview host Alec Baldwin has announced in a New York Magazine cover story that he is quitting public life after being let go by MSNBC over language he used in an on-the-street rant against a photographer. In the piece, Baldwin calls MSNBC star Rachel Maddow a “phony” who doesn’t have the same passion for the truth off-camera as she appears to have on-camera,” according to the interview that was published late last night. In late November, MSNBC and Alec Baldwin‘s camp announced jointly that Baldwin’s Friday show was toast: “We are jointly confirming that Up Late will not continue on MSNBC,” the cable network and Baldwin rep Matthew Hiltzik said. Added MSNBC: “This is a mutual parting and we wish Alec all the best.” It was the first MSNBC had spoken about Up Late’s suspension, Baldwin having announced earlier that month the network had suspended his show for two weeks. That came after TMZ posted a video clip in which he was seen tearing into a photographer with what the press reported sounded like at least one gay slur and possibly two, though Baldwin denied uttering the second one, and said he did not realize the first was a slur.
Alec Baldwin Announces Retirement From Public Life In Magazine Cover, Calls MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow “Phony”
Super Bowl XLVIII: total bust as a game, middling year for ads – though outrage was tearing up Twitter by the time the game sputtered to a close over a Coke commercial in which “America the Beautiful” was sung in many languages over images of people of many ethnic and religious backgrounds spending quality time with family and friends. Rants ranged from :
“Nice to see that Coke likes to sing an AMERICAN song in the terrorist’s language. Way to go Coke. You can leave America”
“Glad to see the that #boycottcoke thing. That way we can clearly spot every bigot, racist and moron in the country & keep them from our kids.”
The ad, ironically, called “It’s Beautiful,” also marked the first time a gay couple had been included in a Super Bowl ad, according to GLAAD, but that kind of got drowned out in all the mud-slinging under the banners #SpeakAmerican and #BoycottCoke.
The game started strong with Joe Namath, in a fly 70′s fur coat, botching the coin toss, which we didn’t think could be done. Namath’s coat went on to bigger and better things, becoming a hashtag phenomenon on Twitter. Despite high prices paid for A-list celebrity endorsements, it was Rob Riggle who seemed to get the most career mileage out of this year’s crop of game ads — including screen time in both a faux movie trailer, Escape to East Rutherford, and a Ford Fusion …
UPDATE, 6:41 AM: MSNBC began probation today. MSNBC was put there by the RNC, after network chief Phil Griffin apologized to RNC chief Reince Priebus before Priebus could appear on FNC‘s Hannity to talk about the boycott of MSNBC he’d organized in the wake of the net’s Cheerios ad tweet. Yesterday afternoon, Priebus announced that until he got a personal and public apology from Griffin himself for the tweet on the net’s official web site, suggesting “rightwing”-ers might not like Cheerios’ new Super Bowl ad featuring a multi-racial family, RNC staffers were banned from contact with MSNBC. Priebus said he’d asked all members of the GOP to do same. On the strength of that, Hannity booked Priebus for his show. But Griffin apologized quickly, which left Priebus to tell Hannity he’d put MSNBC on probation: “Now we have to stay on top of it. So you know what? It’s sort of like being on probation I guess. But the fact of the matter is, we’re here, we’re watching them,” Priebus said. He warned that if he sees any more rannygazoo coming from the general direction of MSNBC, “I’ll do it again. I promise you that.”
PREVIOUS, 1:19 PM Thursday: MSNBC says it has let go the employee who tweeted that “maybe the rightwing will hate” Cheerios’ new Super Bowl ad featuring a multiracial family, and that MSNBC president Phil Griffin has personally apologized to Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus for the tweet. Meanwhile, Fox News reported Priebus will give his first Cheerios Tweet-gate interview to Hannity at 10PM/ET. ”The tweet last night was outrageous and unacceptable,” Griffin said in a statement today. “We immediately acknowledged that it was offensive and wrong, apologized, and deleted it. We have dismissed the person responsible for the tweet. I personally apologize to Mr. Priebus and to everyone offended. At MSNBC we believe in passionate, strong debate about the issues and we invite voices from all sides to participate. That will never change. ”
PREVIOUS, 10:45 AM: RNC chairman Reince Priebus says MSNBC’s apology for its tweet about a Cheerios commercial does not go far enough, and is organizing a GOP boycott of the cable news network. MSNBC has deleted the tweet, called it “offensive,” said it “deeply regrets” the tweet. The network apologized and said it “does not reflect the position of MSNBC.” The tweet was about a Cheerios ad running in Sunday’s Super Bowl, featuring the same interracial family used in an earlier Cheerios ad that generated such hateful comments on YouTube that the video’s comments section was shut down. “Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family,” MSNBC tweeted, while also directing readers to its report on the ad with video of the ad.
Not enough, says Priebus, who’s trying to orchestrate a GOP-wide boycott of the network until MSNBC president Phil Griffin himself “personally and publicly” apologizes for “this behavior,” telling Griffin in a letter that also made its way to the media that “such petty and demeaning attacks have become a pattern at your network” and jumping to a discussion of how “many of your hosts have personally denigrated and demeaned Americans – especially conservative and Republican Americans – without even attempting to further meaningful political dialogue.” Technically, some of those people are now “former hosts.”
Super Bowl Ad: MSNBC Apologizing Now Officially A Trend – This Time For Tweet About Cheerios Commercial (Video)
Does someone at MSNBC get a bonus for every media report that includes the name “MSNBC” and the word “apology”? This time, the cable news network apologized for a tweet it posted last night suggesting/fearing/hoping conservatives would not like the new Cheerios Super Bowl ad, and directing readers to its report on the ad. The spot features the same interracial family used in an earlier Cheerios commercial that set off quite a discussion — YouTube’s comments section on the ad was turned off when the talk got particularly heinous. “Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family,” MSNBC tweeted, directing readers to its report and ad video.
Outrage ensued, with headlines including “MSNBC Slimes ‘Right Wing’ as Racist Over Cheerios Ad,” and “MSNBC Trolls The Right With Cheerios Tweet,” among others. Cue up MSNBC apologies via Twitter:
Earlier, this account tweeted an offensive line about the new Cheerios ad. We deeply regret it. It does not reflect the position of msnbc.
— msnbc (@msnbc) January 30, 2014
One minute later it tweeted:
We are deleting the earlier offensive tweet. It does not reflect msnbc’s position and we apologize.
— msnbc (@msnbc) January 30, 2014
More media headlines: “MSNBC Apologizes For Tweet Taunting Conservatives Over Super Bowl Ad Starring Biracial Child,” and “MSNBC Apologizes After Racially Charged Gaff About Cheerios,” to name just two.
MSNBC has done a mess of apologizing lately: Our list includes former show host Martin Bashir’s apology for on-air comments about Sarah Palin, show host Melissa Harris-Perry’s tearful apology for program panel in which fun was poked at Mitt Romney’s family photo featuring a black grandson on his knee, and former show host Alec Baldwin’s mea culpa over on-the-street anti-gay rhetoric.
Here, in its entirety, is MSNBC’s report on the ad, to which the tweet had directed readers, followed by the new Cheerios Super Bowl ad that caused the kerfuffle, and that original Cheerios ad:
UPDATE: Congressman Apologizes For Threatening To Throw TV Reporter Off Balcony After State Of The Union (Video)
UPDATE, 9:40 AM: New York Rep. Michael Grimm told a gaggle of reporters outside his office this morning he expects his mother to remind him he was not raised to threaten to throw reporters off of balconies. and that he’s scheduled a lunch with the NY1 reporter to whom he made the offer, Meanwhile, NY1 reporter Michael Scotto tweeted he’s accepted Grimm’s apology.
PREVIOUS, 7:53 AM: Time Warner Cable landed one of the biggest scoops of the State of the Union address last night, when a congressman offered to throw one of its reporters off the balcony in the hall, and/or break him in two, during a post-address interview (see video below). It’s believed to be a State of the Union Address first and understandably is the subject of some talk on the morning news show circuit today. “He did seem angry, he seemed angrier than I have ever seen a politician talk to a reporter about a question that he or she didn’t like,” NY1 reporter Michael Scotto reminisced this morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
“He” is New York Rep. Michael Grimm, whose campaign finance issues have been of interest to some news outlets of late — the FBI arrested his fundraiser Diana Durand earlier this month, according to published reports. Scotto told various TV news outlets this morning that Grimm has been dodging the media but, after President Obama’s speech last night, he agreed to give Scotto an interview — at the end of which Scotto tried to ask him about allegations about his campaign finances. Grimm can be seen telling Scotto he won’t discuss anything but the POTUS speech and the stalking off. Scotto may have pitched it a little too strong to his viewers when he wrapped up with: “Congressman Michael Grimm does not want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign finances, we wanted to get him on camera on that, but he, as you saw, refused to talk about that. Back to you.”
More than four months after MSNBC confirmed that Ronan Farrow would be getting his own show on the cable news network, he finally has a debut date. Farrow’s yet unnamed show will premiere on February 24 at 1 PM ET, MSNBC announced this morning. Also joining the daytime lineup is longtime contributor and Grio.com editor Joy Reid. The recent fill-in host’s own show will also start February 24 at 2 PM ET following Farrow. “Ronan and Joy are two of the most thoughtful and impressive journalists out there and I’m excited for what they will bring to the afternoon,” said MSNBC president Phil Griffin in a statement today. The additions mean some current MSNBC shows will be moved around: Andrea Mitchell Reports will shift to noon, and NewsNation With Tamron Hall will move to 11 AM ET.
UPDATE, 1:47 PM: Last night Ronan Farrow chastised the Golden Globes on NBC for their tribute to Woody Allen and what he says they left out. Today, the soon-to-be MSNBC host was on the cable news network but didn’t say a word about Woody. Today the son of Allen’s former longtime companion Mia Farrow was on with anchor Craig Melvin talking about former Defense Secretary Robert Gate’s controversial new memoir — with not a murmur of the controversy he started with his own tweets on Sunday. Farrow did tweet afterwards today that “Robert Gates’ neck brace is stylin’.” NBC and MSNBC had no comment on Farrow’s tweet about the Golden Globes and Allen or his future at the cable newser.
Related: Golden Globes: Live Blog
PREVIOUS, JAN 12, 8:47 PM: First Mia Farrow tweeted she was turning off the Golden Globes on NBC when they went to the Woody Allen tribute. Now her son and upcoming MSNBC host Ronan Farrow lashed out against his mother’s former longtime companion, also on Twitter.
Missed the Woody Allen tribute – did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?
— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) January 13, 2014
When Alex Wagner moves to 4 PM ET on MSNBC, replacing potty-mouthed Martin Bashir, a rotating lineup of on-air talent will replace Wagner at noon. They include Joy Reid, who has been filling in at 4 since Bashir’s exit last month, as well as Ari Melber, who’d previously replaced Steve Kornacki as host of MSNBC’s The Cycle in April.
MSNBC is expected to eventually pick one of its host rotators to get the gig on a permanent basis, reports TV Newser. At least, as permanent as hosts are on MSNBC these days. Most recently, Bashir resigned after the drumbeat failed to die down when he apologized for having suggested, on air, that someone might defecate in Sarah Palin’s mouth, after she likened the country’s debt to China to slavery — because an infamous slave owner used to punish his slaves in that manner. Bashir nearly ran into MSNBC’s short-lived host Alec Baldwin heading out the door — Baldwin having been suspended, and then exited by mutual agreement, at about the same time in the wake of a homophobic slur lobbed at a photographer during a street altercation.
2ND UPDATE, 8:20 AM: Will cable news programs steer clear of comedy after MSNBC‘s botched Melissa Harris-Perry end-of-year show left her tearily apologizing for the show’s gags targeting Mitt Romney‘s adopted black grandson, and Fox News Channel devoting yet more airtime to MSNBC’s show host foot-in-mouth epidemic? Most recently, Romney was a guest on Fox News this past Sunday, in the course of which, during a segment known as “Romney Reacts To MSNBC For Mocking Family Photo”, he told Chris Wallace, “I recognize that people make mistakes and the folks at MSNBC made a big mistake. They’ve apologized for it. That’s all you can ask for. I am going to move on from that. I am sure they want to move on from it. Look, I’ve made plenty of mistakes myself and they’ve apologized for this and, you know, I think we can go on from there.”
The reference was to MSNBC show Melissa Harris-Perry‘s second annual “Look Back In Laughter” telecast, which was supposed to “look back on some of the political absurdity of 2013.” In that episode, a panel of comics was charged with concocting captions to political photos from 2013. Harris-Perry and her producers thought the Romney family Christmas photo — large, white family with tiny black baby on Mitt’s lap — was on topic. One of Harris-Perry’s comedy panelists began to sing snatches of the Sesame Street tune “One Of These Things is Not Like The Others” and Harris-Perry tried her hand at comedy by riffing about her hopes for a marriage between the baby boy named Kieran, and North West — Kanye’s daughter with Kim Kardashian.
Eight months after MSNBC named Brian Shactman new anchor of Way Too Early — its pre-dawn lead-in to Morning Joe — the cable news net has tapped Thomas Roberts to replace him starting Monday. Roberts said in the announcement the job is “right in line with my career goals and aspirations.”
Shactman, meanwhile, said in this morning’s announcement he’d come to the conclusion that “I don’t want politics to be my only focus. … I want to continue to branch out, making sure my career is not solely defined by that.” Shactman got the show when Willie Geist was named co-anchor of Today‘s 9 AM hour.
MSNBC president Phil Griffin said Roberts got the gig because his “unique personality and point of view are just the right mix to lead-in to Morning Joe.” When The Daily Caller reported the openly gay Roberts was replacing Shactman because the left-leaning channel wants the show to be seen as more “diverse,” Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough shot back, to TV Newser, “Despite Internet speculation, he was chosen based strictly on merit and not politically correct considerations.” Roberts has been host of MSNBC Live at 11 a.m. since 2010 and also has been a fill-in host and contributor to Morning Joe, Way Too Early, and NBC’s Today.
A tumultuous year for cable news networks wrapped with all of them having experienced some kind of ratings ding compared to ’12 – except HLN, whose currency is court trials, not presidential election cycles. 2013 was the year of the George Zimmerman and Jodi Arias trials – a good year for HLN.
Perennial cable news ratings leader Fox News Channel wound up ‘13 ranked No. 6 in primetime among all ad-supported cablers – behind USA, ESPN, History, TBS and TNT – with an average audience of 1.761 million viewers. (For comparison sake, MSNBC ranked No. 29 with 640,000 viewers, and CNN ranked 32nd with 568,000. HLN brought up the rear, with a primetime average of 395,000 viewers, but that’s a 22% year-to-year improvement.)
FNC made headlines this year when it revamped its primetime slate in October, adding Megyn Kelly at 9 PM, and moving Sean Hannity to 10 and Greta Van Susteren to 7. Since the change, all four of FNC’s primetime shows are up in total viewers and in the demo compared to year to date averages with Kelly’s show up the most: 10% in the news demo and 20% in overall audience.
Jeff Zucker took over the reins at CNN at the start of ’13; the network edged back up to No. 2 in total day, but remained in third place in prime, behind MSNBC, with its smallest ratings in two decades. That said, CNN’s weekday primetime programs saw some growth, including Anderson Cooper’s double-digit improvement, and a Piers Morgan inch-up.
Alex Wagner is getting Martin Bashir’s 4 PM ET timeslot starting next month. Wagner has hosted the network’s noon panel-format program “Now” since November 2011 and the move opens up that timeslot, noted TVNewser, which first reported the move. The network’s recently added anchor Ronan Farrow is scheduled to start in January but he has yet to be given an announced timeslot.
Bashir resigned earlier this month after the drumbeat failed to die down when he apologized for having suggested, on air, that someone might defecate in Sarah Palin’s mouth, when she likened the country’s debt to China to slavery, because an infamous slave owner used to punish his slaves in that manner. “Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the president of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation,” Bashir said in an email. “It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments.”
UPDATED, 11:30 AM: Martin Bashir‘s resignation from MSNBC after making graphic statements about Sarah Palin on his program led to some interesting, and unexpected, results. This morning, for instance, Palin praised the media for keeping on the story alive after Bashir apologized for comments he made about her on his show. “It was refreshing to see though, that many in the media did come out and say, ‘Look our standards have got to be higher than this’,” Palin said this morning on Fox News Channel‘s Fox & Friends. “Those with that platform, with a microphone, a camera in their face, they have to have some more responsibility taken.” Meanwhile, Alec Baldwin, who’d added his voice to the chorus wondering why MSNBC had not punished Bashir for his incendiary, pre-planned on-air comment about Palin — Baldwin had been suspended, then canceled for his homophobic rant against a photographer — weighed in with support of Bashir after word of the latter’s resignation got out. “I’m sorry to learn that @MartinBashir is out at MSNBC,” Baldwin tweeted yesterday, followed a minute later by, “Bashir created great television.” On his November 15 MSNBC program, Bashir called Palin a “world class idiot” for comparing the country’s debt to China to slavery. After describing one slave-owner’s practice of forcing a slave to defecate in another slave’s mouth, Bashir said Palin would be a good candidate for such treatment.
Martin Bashir has resigned from MSNBC after the drum beat failed to die down after he apologized on air for having suggested, on air, that someone might defecate in Sarah Palin’s mouth. “Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the president of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation,” Bashir said in an email first posted by Mediaite today. “It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments.”
Meanwhile, MSNBC president Phil Griffin, whose weeks-long silence on the subject of Bashir has been deafening, said today in a statement: “Martin Bashir resigned today, effective immediately. I understand his decision and I thank him for three great years with MSNBC. Martin is a good man and respected colleague — we wish him only the best.” Before this morning’s news, MSNBC — which fired Don Imus in 2007 for referring to members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos” and suspended David Shuster for two weeks in 2008 for suggesting that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign had “pimped out” daughter Chelsea by having her make phone calls to celebrities and convention delegates — had said the Bashir “matter” was being handled internally and it would have no comment.
This brings to two the number of on-air talent MSNBC has shed in the past several days. Late last week, the cable news network issued a joint announcement with Alec Baldwin’s camp, saying they had mutually decided to end Baldwin’s Up Late interview show.
MSNBC‘s joint announcement today with Alec Baldwin’s camp that they had mutually decided to end Baldwin’s Up Late interview show leaves the cable news network with just one on-air talent headache: Martin Bashir, whose apology for graphic comments he made about Sarah Palin hasn’t ended chatter as to whether he should be punished.
This past weekend, Palin, a Fox News analyst, said in an interview with Fox News Sunday that MSNBC was guilty of “executive hypocrisy” in not disciplining Bashir for his “vile, evil comments.” Following Bashir’s on-air apology, the network — which fired Don Imus in 2007 for referring to members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos” and suspended David Shuster for two weeks in 2008 for suggesting that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign had “pimped out” daughter Chelsea by having her make phone calls to celebrities and convention delegates — told the Associated Press it was “handling this [Bashir] matter internally,” and wouldn’t comment further.
Bashir had used his weekday afternoon program on November 15 to criticize Palin for having compared U.S. indebtedness to China to slavery. Bashir cited the diaries of a former plantation overseer who punished slaves by having someone defecate in their mouth or urinate on their face. Bashir suggested the former Alaska governor was a candidate for the same treatment. After Bashir made that suggestion, the same day MSNBC suspended Baldwin’s show after the host’s off-screen behavior, much debate ensued as to why Baldwin’s reprehensible rant during a heated off-air confrontation merited suspension, while Bashir’s thought-out, and deliberately gag-inducing, suggestion, made on air, did not. Bashir apologized during his next telecast, on November 18.
MSNBC and Alec Baldwin‘s camp announced jointly that Baldwin’s Friday show is toast: “We are jointly confirming that Up Late will not continue on MSNBC,” MSNBC and Baldwin rep Matthew Hiltzik said. Added MSNBC: “This is a mutual parting and we wish Alec all the best.” It’s the first MSNBC has spoken about Up Late’s suspension; Baldwin announced earlier this month the network had suspended his show for two weeks; his announcement came after a video clip caught him tearing into a photographer with at least one gay slur and possibly two, though Baldwin has denied uttering the second one and says he did not realize the first was a slur.
“Whether the show comes back at all is at issue right now,” Baldwin wrote in his blog after his show’s first week off the air, setting the stage for its non-return. “[If] the show dies, its fate ends up being no different than the vast majority of start-up TV programming, and so be it,” he wrote – though that all-about-the-ratings-like-any-other-start-up storyline grew less pat when Up Late’s fill-in show, Lockup, clocked an even smaller number than Baldwin’s show the past two weeks. MSNBC said Baldwin’s former time slot — Fridays at 10 PM — will continue to be taken by Lockup.
Last week, Baldwin attended a tech conference in San Francisco to jokingly profess his love for a man, in the hope of, once again, recalibrating his image. After asking a member of his entourage to stand up, Baldwin told him: “I want you to be my lover, Matt. I love you, Matt. I love you in that way.” The Associated Press reports Baldwin’s bit got a big laugh from the conference crowd. The actor also told that tech-conference crowd that he hopes his 3-month-old daughter learns to control her temper better than he has as an adult, the AP reported. He also told the group he now realizes he needs to choose his words more carefully. “If in any context, in the world that we live in today, if any word is remotely offensive to people, then I’m perfectly willing to learn a different word,” Baldwin said.
MSNBC had been very quiet since Baldwin announced his Up Late With Alec Baldwin was being taken off the cable news network for two weeks. That, after the entertainment website TMZ posted a video of the hot-tempered Baldwin’s latest rant. That included zipped lips in re whether the program, which had sunk about 40% in ratings in its brief five-week life, would return.