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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Note to MSNBC: Two words: Rachel. Maddow.
Posted by Jill | 10:07 AM
Look, I think Rosie O'Donnell's heart is in the right place, but I don't think she's exactly an effective spokesperson for our side.

But even as Rachel Maddow is a more prominent presence on MSNBC, Dan Abrams can't see what's right before his very eyes, apparently eyeing someone else who may generate more press, but little prestige, to continue the network's profitable leftward lean:

Riding a ratings wave from “Countdown With Keith Olbermann,” a program that takes strong issue with the Bush administration, MSNBC is increasingly seeking to showcase its nighttime lineup as a welcome haven for viewers of a similar mind.

Lest there be any doubt that the cable channel believes there is ratings gold in shows that criticize the administration with the same vigor with which Fox News’s hosts often champion it, two NBC executives acknowledged yesterday that they were talking to Rosie O’Donnell about a prime-time show on MSNBC.

During the nine months she spent on “The View” before departing abruptly last spring, Ms. O’Donnell raised viewership notably. She did so while lamenting the unabated casualties of the Iraq war and advocating the right to gay marriage, among other positions.

Under one option, Ms. O’Donnell would take the 9 p.m. slot each weeknight on MSNBC, pitting her against “Larry King Live” on CNN and “Hannity & Colmes” on Fox News.

But even without Ms. O’Donnell, MSNBC already presents a three-hour block of nighttime talk — Chris Matthews’s “Hardball” at 7, Mr. Olbermann at 8, and “Live With Dan Abrams” at 9 — in which the White House takes a regular beating. The one early-evening program on MSNBC that is often most sympathetic to the administration, “Tucker” with Tucker Carlson at 6 p.m., is in real danger of being canceled, said one NBC executive, who, like those who spoke of Ms. O’Donnell, would do so only on condition of anonymity.

If you want a lesbian, activist, experienced voice, then Rachel Maddow brings far more gravitas to the table -- and none of Rosie's baggage -- and also a sense of humor. If, like me, you think these "talks" are about to squander the best opportunity to add a quality reality-based program to the MSNBC lineup, send e-mail to viewerservices@msnbc.com or snail mail to:

Phil Griffin
Senior Vice President
NBC News
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10112

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