Them’s fighting words: “All I know is I kicked CNN’s ass without Jeff Zucker“, MSNBC head Phil Griffin boasts in a New Republic article posted today. “Now I gotta kick his ass, too”. The profile details Griffin’s history with ex-NBC topper and now CNN head Jeff Zucker but positions Fox News‘s Roger Ailes as Griffin’s real target. (A nickname for Ailes’ rival network at Griffin’s office, according to the piece: “Loserville”.) The MSNBC president also revealed designs on evolving his news network into a lifestyle channel “covering fashion, entertainment, sports, and food”: “I’m giving Chris Matthews a [digital] channel to talk about movies and good television shows like Mad Men and Homeland“, Griffin said. As Deadline reported last month, MSNBC came second to Fox News in February’s ratings, with CNN in third.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
MSNBC Announces Multi-Year Contract With Rachel Maddow
MSNBC president Phil Griffin, appearing on the cable news network’s Tuesday panel at TCA alongside hosts Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell and Chris Matthews, said the door is still open to “Young Turk” Cenk Uygur, who abruptly left the network July 20. Griffin said he was surprised by the departure, although he does not feel that the host worked in the 6 PM time slot. “We wanted Cenk to stay at MSNBC; he fits our sensibility,” he said. “I don’t think all good people are going to succeed at 6 o’clock. We were working on a new contract to have him on the weekends; I was disappointed that he didn’t stay and hope we will work out that he comes back. … I have nothing bad to say about him. He was terrific.” Griffin said no decision has been made about putting Al Sharpton in Uygur’s former slot but that the civil rights leader “fits into MSNBC.”
NEW YORK – August 1, 2011 – MSNBC contributor Chris Hayes has been added to the network’s weekend lineup as the host of a new weekend morning show. The program, with a focus on politics, will be live on Saturdays from 7:00 – 9:00 a.m. ET and Sundays from 8:00 – 10:00 a.m. ET starting September 17. The announcement was made today by MSNBC President Phil Griffin. Hayes, a frequent substitute host for “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” will continue as an MSNBC contributor and will remain part of The Nation as Editor-at-Large.