Can Change Come To MSNBC Too Late?

Several weeks ago according to industry reports the cable network MSNBC, (who uses the tagline "Lean Forward"), was beginning to lean back in the face of rival CNN. "The Rachel Maddow Show", arguably the network's highest rated show (we try not to miss Rachel), posted its lowest quarterly ratings ever. "Morning Joe" posted its second lowest quarterly ratings, and the much-touted "Ronan Farrow Daily" seemed to have never drawn an audience.

While MSNBC's president Phil Griffin offered reasons for MSNBC's slide, (which for the most part was "CNN is the go-to network for breaking news and we've had a lot of that recently"), it must be said that programming has a lot to do with MSNBC's ratings drop.

We've thought for some time it seemed MSNBC forgot its popularity grew out of the run up to the 2008 Presidentail Election. Their audience trended older, upscale and educated, but Morning Joe seems to be turning that very viewer off (the first thing in the morning) with hosts and guests who offer too many opinions (they aren't always qualified to give) and not enough facts.

Just as Mr. Griffin offered numerous reasons to justify MSNBC's plunge in ratings, (MSNBC had its lowest third quarter since 2007) and CNN's rise,  programming changes were announced for the network. Whatever changes the network has in mind, hopefully it will begin at 6:00AM, and take into account that perhaps their coverage of politics has led to some of the disinterested viewers may feel in the network.

Several months ago we speculated that MSNBC might wait too long to make needed changes. Ratings aside, MSNBC's biggest challenge is to remember the lesson of "Meet The Press." Once viewers stop tuning in it's difficult to get them back.



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