TVNewser, who has for all intents and purposes owned the Situation story today, tops it off with comments from both Carlson and Kaplan.
After all, “it requires a real commitment of resources,” MSNBC president Rick Kaplan said. “It’s cheaper to just run your schedule, turn it around and run it over again.”
“I told the network back in December or January that we were going to do an 11pm show,” Kaplan told TVNewser this afternoon. “What we really created for Tucker was a late-night show, but the hole in the schedule at that moment was nine, so we figured ‘Okay we’ll premiere it, we’ll fill the schedule.’”
The bow-tied host discussed a late-night show with Kaplan before he even came to MSNBC. “This is what I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” he said.
He continued: “This is a chance for Fox viewers, CNN viewers, people who are tired of reruns, to find a first-run program…It’s a huge move, from my perspective, on MSNBC’s part. As Rick said, it’s a commitment of resources. It’s a big deal. Other networks haven’t wanted to do it because it costs money, but MSNBC is bold enough to do it.”
ICN doesn’t think that this is spin we’re reading here and that Carlson was always intended to be on late night. Though one wonders why they didn’t just come out and say that Tucker was moving to 11 when Cosby was signed instead of making it this big guessing game about what was going to happen since they were going to put The Situation on at 11 in the first place. It just makes things look bad like it was a panic move when you already knew what you’re going to do but didn’t signal it that way (and even let conflicting data come out through back door means that Cosby was going to be on at 11 as other boards had reported).
But MSNBC will need more than the “Hey we’ve got fresh programming here.” tagline to make it work. They’re going to have to give viewers a reason to watch. That will mostly depend on whether a) The format of the progam is something that late night viewers truly want, and b) Whether Carlson is the guy to deliver those viewers. This is uncharted territory MSNBC is wading in to. Clearly they’ve done their due dilligence on the matter, to a greater extent than ICN had given them credit for. And ICN is pleased that this isn’t a return to the “here one day, gone the next” days of Erik Sorenson and that the commitment is still there. Because this show is going to need that commitment to have a chance at succeeding.