NBC News chairman Andrew Lack, who was hired in April to oversee NBC News and MSNBC, told Variety’s Brian Steinberg that he isn’t finished making changes at the struggling cable network.
Lack has reworked MSNBC’s daytime programming with the jettisoning of low-rated programs hosted by Joy Reid, Ronan Farrow, Ed Schultz and Al Sharpton in favor of more news oriented programs hosted by Thomas Roberts, Kate Snow and Chuck Todd. But he still feels that more needs to be done to reverse the 14% slide in viewership the network experienced in 2014.
One possible change that Lack hinted at was expanding Morning Joe beyond its three-hour block, in an effort to reach more west coast viewers. He told Steinberg that he thinks “it is the most influential program in cable news in the morning, and I think it’s missing an opportunity in the West.” Influence apparently counts more than ratings as Morning Joe has been locked in a see-saw battle with CNN’s New Day for the last year, often trailing the latter in the key demo.
While Lack was short on specifics regarding any other changes, MSNBC did announce yesterday that Steve Kornacki, who has been hosting Up with Steve Kornacki on the weekends, would be leaving the show to join Chuck Todd on MTP Daily and will be replaced by Alex Wagner, whose weekday program was canceled in July.
The moves that Lack has made to date have been mainly cosmetic and really haven’t moved the needle much. What he needs to do is what MSNBC president Phil Griffin has failed to do: overhaul the primetime lineup, which has been struggling for several years now. The longer Lack sticks with the status quo, the longer they will remain a low-rated cable news network, which is fine with me.