So back in March, if you recall, I wrote a piece in which I speculated, due to some media reports, that the managing editor of The Grio and regular MSNBC contributor, Joy-Ann Reid could possibly be a real contender for her own prime time show on the network, after it was announced that Ed Schultz was being moved out of his weekly prime time slot for the weekends.
Wishful thinking, of course, since literally just as soon as the article was posted up, came the news that Chris Hayes (the guy who still reminds me so of those persnickety, obnoxious nerds I used to intimidate for lunch money in high school) was relieving Schultz.
Well three months later, it turns out that the great Hayes experiment has been a total disaster for MSNBC. His show, according to one report this week, has been “hemorrhaging viewers.” In fact the ratings for his show are so bad that it’s been dragging down the overall ratings performance of the network. Gone are the huge gains in ratings the network made against other 24 hour news channels last year, as it now finishes third, or even fourth sometimes, among its competitors.
Hayes may be very knowledgeable about politics, but he’s lethal on TV. His show is more of a college classroom than a news show (same problem I have with Harris-Perry’s show) and he regularly avoids dealing with whatever important burning issue is of the day, for a draggy PhD dissertation on some other lesser important matter.
And keep in mind that despite the fact it’s supposed to be a news/discussion show on a news cable channel, it’s still always just, and has been, entertainment. You have to keep your audience hooked and entertained. If you want really hard news then read the N.Y. Times or watch BBC News.
So what is MSNBC going to do? They could and will probably try to tinker with Hayes' show to try to make it more in line with Rachel Maddow or Lawrence O’Donnell. But Hayes would most likely resist that. And the network, at this stage, is reluctant to cancel his show so soon since that would, in effect, publicly admit that they made a colossal mistake - something that any network would be loathe to do.
But if push comes to shove, considering all things and especially the ratings, Hayes’ show may not make it past this summer, which, yet again, opens up the opportunity for another shot for Reid to get her own show.
First of all, who else do they have? I can't think of anyone, except maybe regular MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capeheart, but he also has that irritating persnickety thing too. And Karen Finney has her own show on weekends which is supposed to premiere this month, if it hasn't already.
Furthermore, as I said last time, no one can deny that Reid is really, really smart, knows politics inside and out like nobody's business, is personable, has fantastic presence on the screen (she's been on TV and radio since 1998), and has smoothly subbed occasionally on other network shows.
And she's is on the network ALL THE TIME. Every day. Sometimes a few times a day. Like, what else do you need?
Also they’ve really “glammed” her up lately, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she insisted perhaps even bringing in her own makeup people and stylists, knowing that appearances always does matter on TV.
So during the next few months, let’s see what happens. One thing for sure is that Hayes' show can’t continue any longer, if it doesn’t improve, and if MSNBC will see the obvious solution right in front of them.
But I’m not taking any bets.