The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

31 March 2009

MSNBC Appears To Pass On Libtalker Ed Schultz, Will Keep Olby Rerun


No Schultz Hire At MSNBC, Rerun Will Remain At 10pm

Did his infamously hot temper spook network brass? Or were the demands deemed unreasonable?

After appearing to have a lock on a new live show at MSNBC, libtalker Ed Schultz apparently won't be landing the gig after all. In fact, according to the AP, the leftist cable network has "indefinitely" postponed adding any new program, choosing instead to keep a Keith Olbermann rerun in place at 10pm weeknights.

Last week, we provided a rundown of Schultz's past blow-ups, including a 2007 bar brawl and disturbing on-air meltdowns with callers, even against fellow liberals. Within the broadcast industry, there were rumors that NBC hadn't completely vetted Schultz before entering into contract negotiations. They did, however, proceed all the way to an on-air tryout, which seemed to pave the way for a new show.

What happened at the last minute that sunk this deal?

Rather than get into specifics regarding Schultz, MSNBC is claiming it's better off sticking to a Keith Olbermann rerun, even if that hasn't exactly provided blockbuster ratings. From the AP:

Fox has 2.1 million viewers, on average, in the time slot in March. Cooper on CNN has 1.2 million and Olbermann has 902,000, according to Nielsen Media Research. On a handful of nights, a rerun of Olbermann has even beaten a live Cooper in the 25-to-54-year-old demographic that MSNBC watches most closely.

MSNBC may give up entirely on the idea of putting a new live show in that time slot, Griffin said.

"We're not going to mess with it until we see where it levels off," he said. "It places the burden, if we are going to put a show there, (for it) to be a big show because the repeat of `Countdown' is doing so well."

The statistics have taken MSNBC by surprise. Griffin said it seems many viewers who are putting children to bed or are otherwise busy at 8 p.m. prefer to watch at 10.

NBC News has a big financial incentive to keep things the way they are. It costs the network nothing to show the rerun, while a new program would cost millions of dollars for on-air talent and production costs.

Several other wanna-bes, including some of Air America's failed hosts of the past, were campaigning for the slot but have also been ruled out.

Inside Cable News isn't buying the network's party line one bit:

This is not a winning strategy to maintain the status quo of MSNBC 2nd and CNN 3rd. So the real reason for this move must be something else. Possible reasons:

- MSNBC can’t find a host it likes that it thinks can pull in the numbers.

- MSNBC can find a host it likes but can’t come to terms with said host.

- NBC wants to roll the dice and gamble that it can keep costs down by not paying for a new show and new host at 10pm and still beat CNN. This is a very risky strategy because it’s betting the farm that CNN can’t regroup. That is not something I would want to risk the future on. But given that Campbell Brown is off the air for the next few months, I could see why NBC might hedge at this point. Still, I think it’s a big risk.

What else could have concerned NBC executives? Several background pieces at the NewsBusters site documented more of Schultz's past antics, including this one from Rich Noyes:

On his radio show, Schultz has polluted the airwaves with rhetoric far nastier than what liberals claim about talk radio conservatives. Last Friday, for example, Schultz called GOP Senator Jon Kyl a “spineless scumbag” for daring to criticize President Obama’s joke about bowling “like Special Olympics or something.” Other recent examples chronicled here on NewsBusters:

■ On March 2, Schultz compared Limbaugh to Adolf Hitler: “If you watch Limbaugh with the sound down...he looks like Adolf Hitler!...The parallel is so striking.”

■ On November 25, Schultz rued how, after years of bashing George W. Bush, the outgoing President never extended his hospitality to left-wing talkers: “We lefties with microphones, we were never invited to the White House. Never got a chance to even urinate on the yard.”

■ On November 17, Schultz blasted Republican Senator Richard Shelby as a “terrorist” for opposing a taxpayer bailout of the auto companies: “It is his mission to kill the Big Three.... Senator Shelby from Alabama is a terrorist on the American worker. He is a terrorist on wage workers.” Two weeks later, on December 3, Schultz attacked network news (presumably including NBC?) for not “cheerleading” a socialist bailout: “They should be cheerleading. They should. Forget all this journalist crap! I’m serious.”

And conservative commentator / Media Research Center honcho Brent Bozell warned NBC of trouble ahead should they choose to hire the syndicated radio talker.

Whatever the reason, Schultz may now be kicking himself for ditching his longtime home in Fargo for the rough-and-tumble world of Washington. Beyond trebling his cost of living, it's hard to say what he has to show for the upheaval.

As for MSNBC, once the decks are cleared of these candidates, it may yet restart the search for a 10pm host. With far superior competition clobbering the Olby rerun, it can't afford not to.

FOR New England regional talk radio updates, see our other site.

Amazon orders originating with clicks here benefit The Radio Equalizer's ongoing operations.

Your PayPal contributions keep this site humming along. Thanks!


  • What MSNBC needs is a real adult who doesn't drink the Obama Kool-aid. A Real Conservative, not a neutered RINO for some balance to the schedule. This person would need a producer and staff that aren't foaming at the mouth leftists that all the other MSNBC personalities have.

    By Blogger PCD, at 31 March, 2009 10:53  

  • how about a REAL PERSON who does not simply cheer-lead for the D or the R.... maybe a RON PAUL REPUBLICAN/LIBERTARIAN or BERNIE SANDERS/SOCIALIST-DEMOCRAT.... someone that does not fit the simple con,lib mold...... most Americans do not fit the con,lib mold.

    By Anonymous FormerEvilLib-turned-Libertarian, at 31 March, 2009 20:05  

  • It must also be painful to watch the meteoric rise of Radio Equalizer's least liked right-wing talk show hosts:

    By Anonymous Gregory of Yardale, at 31 March, 2009 22:52  

  • Beck is listening to Alex jones for the paranoid vibe thing. As I said before the future of talk radio are shows like Alex Jones, not right, not left, just entertaining and not trusting of ANY leader. Left or right

    con radio traditionally shuts off the brain whenever Republicans are in charge. This format will NOT work anymore, same for liberal hosts, when Dems are in power, they shut off their brains and cheer-lead.

    By Anonymous FormerEvil-lib, at 01 April, 2009 12:58  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Page Rank Checker

Powered by Blogger