2014 is getting off to a busy start for NBC News. No sooner does the division announce its priority is getting Today back up on its feet with a new tagline “Rise to Shine” that will help viewers forget its bungled dumping of show co-anchor Ann Curry, than a report surfaces that NBC News will not renew Curry’s $12 million contract — the one she got when she was shoved off Today. The network has denied the Radar report, noting that Curry has been given an actual big assignment which, presumably, is what happens when you pay someone $12 mil a year.
Meanwhile, the division’s Sunday Beltway show Meet The Press got its fourth quarter numbers, and they’re the franchise’s worst in its history in the news demo. MTP also suffered its smallest fourth-quarter total-viewer crowd since ’91. This news forced the news division to have to insist to Politico that it has no plans to replace anchor David Gregory, because the site’s media columnist had suggested just that.
And MSNBC has had to refute a report in National Review that Rachel Maddow dictates the cable news network’s editorial direction and has a lot to say about personnel decisions. This after MSNBC anchors Martin Bashir and Alec Baldwin got the hook over separate incendiary comments, and a teary apology by Melissa Harris-Perry for an episode of her program in which she and a bunch of comics poked fun at little black grandson Kieran sitting on Mitt Romney’s knee in the family’s Christmas photo.
The drumbeat from the right eventually cost Baldwin and Bashir their gigs, but Harris-Perry may be spared the same fate — because Glenn Beck has come to her rescue. “Going after children, as she said, is not fair game, but that wasn’t her intent,” Beck said in defense of Harris-Perry. “I truly believe that our side, now, is refusing to see her for what she is, and we are engaging in the worst kind of political destruction. … I fear this time, our side sees blood in the water and is going after her and MSNBC. It’s more wrong than anything she said here, especially since their intent is to hurt and destroy, and hers was not. … If this is her big screw-up, she’s way ahead of me as a human being.”