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MSNBC is Changing Its Tune and Rev Al Is Getting Bumped

MSNBC is Changing Its Tune and Rev Al Is Getting Bumped

As you know, MSNBC announced last week that, due to poor ratings, they are cancelling both
Ronan Farrow’s and Joy-Ann Reid’s afternoon shows on the network. Both will be replaced by a new two-hour block of straight news, to be hosted by
Thomas Roberts, who will be leaving his early morning news show on the network.

But that’s not all in terms of changes at the network. As reported by Daily Beast last week, though
the network has yet to confirm it, Chris Hayes’ prime time show, “All In,” is also
set for the chopping block.

However, that
shouldn’t really come as any surprise. The show has been a total ratings disaster, since it first premiered. It regularly gets beaten. even by “Forensic
Files” repeats on the Headline News Channel. The plan, reportedly, is to move up “The Rachel Maddow Show” to his time slot, once MSNBC can find someone to replace her
show in her current time slot.

But the
other news is that the network is also planning to move Rev Al Sharpton’s “Politics Nation” to a weekend slot, though, why the network is not cancelling it outright, is
not explained. Perhaps he does pull in an audience, however small it may be. Or
maybe it’s because the network is afraid that, if they do cancel him, he’ll create a public stink
about it. Whatever the reason, the plan is to move him sometime in the foreseeable
future.

But there’s
another reason why the network has been making these changes; and, yes, as you
can guess, it’s all about money; or, as it has been called “The Great Unbundling”.

Let me explain…

You sign up
for cable service, and there are networks that are automatically bundled in
packages that you pay for, with a flat fee, and then other networks that
you have to request, and pay extra for. And no matter what provider you sign up
with, there are certain networks everyone gets, such as, AMC, The
Food Network, Comedy Central and the major news networks CNN, Fox News, HLN and
MSNBC.

All this is
good news for the news networks, despite bad ratings, because they still
make money. First, there’s all that subscription revenue they make, and since advertisers
know that those bundled networks are going into tens of millions of homes, even
if people don’t watch them, there’s all that ad revenue they get as well.  As a result, MSNBC, despite sinking ratings and
demos, has been a cash cow for NBC and Comcast. In fact, last year, MSNBC
reported $220 million in profits.

But that
soon is going to change.

Sometime in the
future, television industry analysts are predicting a “great unbundling,” in
which cable TV providers, mainly due to the increasing influence of the
internet, will be offering much smaller bundles to potential customers, which
means more and more networks will be offered separately. You want it, you have to
ask and pay for it. And that very likely will include the news networks.

What all
this means is that Comcast sees a future where people are going to have to want
and pay extra to have MSNBC in their homes. So the word has come down from on
high that they want the network to be much less progressive and left-leaning, and to become more moderate and less partisan, to attract more viewers. The
soon-to-premiere news show with Thomas Roberts is considered by many to be a
big move in that direction.

Naturally, you can argue the same thing will be eventually true for Fox News. But the
network is still is the most watched cable TV network, though by a much smaller margin
than previously, with CNN gaining on it. (All those paranoid, angry 69 year old white
guys that make up the overwhelming majority of their audience, are dying off
fast, from sitting all day on their couches and railing against Obama and
Muslims.) Therefore they have some buffer
to resist any attempts to tone down the network for a while, if it becomes “unbundled”.

Which brings
us all back to Rev. Perm, who, I don’t need to tell you, has been very controversial
and a lightning rod for the network, since his show fist came on the air. (As well as being totally unable to read a teleprompter) The network,
no doubt, sees him as a roadblock to their new strategy, which is why they’re planning
to move him to weekends, where he can do the least damage. I mean, who looks at cable
news networks during weekend afternoons?

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