TV Week plays the story straight:
MSNBC is rearranging its weeknight lineup starting Aug. 8 to put former Fox News Channel personality Rita Cosby at 9 p.m. and move 6-week-old “The Situation With Tucker Carlson” to 11 p.m., where it will be the only live cable news program.
David Bauder of the AP takes a more skeptical line with this headline in the Houston Chronicle:
MSNBC dumps Carlson from prime-time slot
Broadcasting & Cable modified it’s original story. TVNewser earlier noted that B&C said the move appears “to be a vote of low-confidence for Tucker Carlson.” But that passage was missing from the article when ICN read it. There is this though…
“The move had all the earmarks of a downgrade, but Kaplan and Carlson saw it differently”
ICN is doing some rethinking on my earlier comments and was probably too quick to rush to judgement this morning in claiming that this was a vote of no confidence. Clearly the show wasn’t doing well in its 9pm slot and there wasn’t any indictation of the show trending higher in the ratings, though six weeks isn’t really enough time to make a definative judgement on that. But it is possible that the show in its current form could find a new larger audience at 11 pm without having to be tweaked. And ICN is intellectually honest enough to admit that Kaplan and Carlson’s comments played a role in this re-assessment. Sure, they’re going to put the best possible face on the story. But, and this is the key for ICN, Kaplan said that he’d been wanting to do something with 11 pm. ICN is going to give Kaplan the benefit of the doubt on that. If you want to call that backpeddling, I could see why you would come to that conclusion.
ICN thinks Cosby’s show should fare better against the competition than The Situation though. This is due in no small part to Cosby’s reputation of getting the big interview and her tenacity when given a challenge. Like Geraldo Rivera, Cosby has a history of flourishing when she’s gets a big interview. And she has something of a fan base that I’m sure MSNBC is counting on following her over in kick starting a rebounding of the numbers for the 9 pm hour.