It’s all hands on deck as ratings-starved MSNBC starts to get its long-expected overhaul, with Chuck Todd expected to be heading to double duty anchoring an afternoon program while continuing as host of NBC broadcast network’s Meet The Press. It’s a Sunday Beltway show trend: Jake Tapper, for instance, now headlines CNN’s SBS while anchoring The Lead weekday afternoons, and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos hosts This Week while continuing to have a co-anchor role on ABC News’ morning infotainment program Good Morning America.
The news would mark a return to MSNBC for Todd, who anchored The Daily Rundown on the cable news net from its launch until 2014 when he was named to anchor Meet The Press. Todd is a major player for NBC News in an election cycle; since taking over as host this past September, MTP logged its best Q2 total viewer haul in two years (2.6 million) and best news demo performance (808,000) in three. Todd yesterday snagged an Emmy nom for best interview on the program.
News of Todd’s return is expected to be announced at today’s all-hands-on-deck meeting with staff and new-ish NBC News/MSNBC chairman Andy Lack. Lack’s also expected to announce he’s clearing out the cable net’s afternoon lineup, which could mean trouble for The Cycle, Now With Alex Wagner, and The Ed Show, as Mediaite forecast last night.
Plus, staffers are awaiting details of the role to be played by Brian Williams as Lack looks to drag MSNBC out of the ratings cellar. On June 18, Lack announced that when Williams’ six-month suspension ended that month, he would be assigned to MSNBC rather than return to the anchor chair at NBC Nightly News, which was instead handed over to Lester Holt, who’d been performing the role on an interim basis since Williams was suspended in February after misrepresenting on the newscast his role in a helicopter incident in the early days of the Iraq War. Lack said back in June that Williams would join MSNBC as anchor of breaking news and special reports, working with Mark Lukasiewicz, SVP Special Reports for NBCU News Group.
Chris Hayes may have gotten a last-minute reprieve with yesterday morning’s news his ratings-anemic primetime program, All In With Chris Hayes, had received the network’s only nominations in the News & Docu Emmy Awards. Hayes’ MSNBC show has been classified under Vulnerable for some time; in Q2 it clocked 540,000 total viewers, a 12% drop compared to the same time last year, and 107,000 news-demo viewers, a drop of 20% and MSNBC’s lowest-performing primetime show in the demo for the quarter.
The network is a priority for Lack since returning to NBC News in March. In Q2, MSNBC slid another 18% in adults 25-54 in primetime, to just 130,000 viewers, while CNN and Fox News Channel both enjoyed double-digit ratings rises; in total day, the network dropped 17% to just 85K.