HomeWorld NewsInside MSNBC's big shakeup

Inside MSNBC’s big shakeup

When Axios broke the information Wednesday night time that MSNBC was extending “Morning Joe” by an hour and changing Brian Williams on the 11 p.m. ET hour with Stephanie Ruhle, even high producers had been caught off guard.

Why it issues: The leak despatched leaders at MSNBC scrambling to handle questions internally about what a fourth hour of “Morning Joe” would appear to be, together with which producers can be answerable for the extra programming, and the way a 9 a.m. hour would cater to a West Coast viewers.

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  • Given that MSNBC President Rashida Jones and NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Cesar Conde first approached the “Morning Joe” hosts with the plan round two weeks in the past, most of the particulars weren’t absolutely baked, in keeping with a supply acquainted with the discussions.

Details: With “Morning Joe” marking its fifteenth yr in September, and with scores persevering with to beat CNN within the mornings, Jones, Conde and different executives thought an extension of the present made sense. But they solely started to think about it significantly just a few weeks in the past, as soon as it was determined that Ruhle would transfer to the 11 p.m. hour, leaving her 9 a.m. slot open.

  • Hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, who’re married and deeply concerned within the present’s day-to-day operations, had been excited concerning the concept, however had questions on what the extension would imply for his or her employees, in keeping with a supply acquainted with their pondering.

  • In addition to producing “Morning Joe” from 6 to 9 a.m. ET, the identical workforce additionally produces “Way Too Early” at 5 a.m. ET.

  • An extra hour at 9 a.m. ET would open up a chance for “Morning Joe” to handle West Coast audiences. But that additionally meant the present’s workforce would want to determine new protection plans.

  • Ruhle, a senior enterprise correspondent for NBC News and a former financial institution government, anchored the present when markets opened, and sometimes introduced on friends based mostly on the West Coast to speak about tech and enterprise information.

Catch up fast: Even earlier than William’s departure final winter, senior executives started mulling important lineup modifications in 2022, in keeping with two sources acquainted with their pondering.

  • A high precedence can be leaning additional into acquainted franchises and determining how high expertise could possibly be utilized to spice up streaming efforts.

  • In August, the community announced it will be increasing Nicolle Wallace’s present, “Deadline: White House,” to 2 hours and would transfer Chuck Todd’s weekday present, “MTP Daily” (for “Meet the Press”) earlier within the afternoon.

  • Just a few weeks later, the community’s highest-rated star, Rachel Maddow, reached a multiyear cope with NBCUniversal to run a manufacturing firm that may broaden her portfolio of initiatives with the community, however would take away her from her day-to-day internet hosting duties on the 9 p.m. ET primetime hour later in 2022.

Be sensible: Several staffers Axios spoke with mentioned leaders had been caught off guard when the story broke.

  • Just hours earlier than Axios’ story printed, NBC News leaders hosted a name with employees about community updates. The matter of who would exchange Maddow and Williams was one of many first questions they had been pressured to reply.

  • Jones mentioned she would inform staff extra concerning the 11 p.m. ET hour when there was one thing to share. She didn’t present an replace on who would exchange Maddow, however famous that Maddow’s not going far.

  • Another supply mentioned Jones was unable to get on the telephone with staffers of “The 11th Hour,” Williams’ former turf, earlier than the information got here out.

  • Asked for remark, Jones mentioned: “We are very excited for our viewers to be rolling out the new lineup for ‘Morning Joe’ and Stephanie, and how their voices fit in our broader vision for programming during this consequential year.”

What’s next: Ruhle is expected to begin anchoring “The eleventh Hour” in a few weeks, according to a network source familiar with MSNBC’s plans. Staffing plans and production logistics for the 9 a.m. hour are still being worked out.

Disclosure: NBC is an investor in Axios and Sat Brainch, chief commercial officer of NBCU News Group, is a member of the Axios board. Axios journalists appear on MSNBC.

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