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MSNBC Debuts Dylan & Dr. Nancy – Spitzer & Actual News are Sidekicks

ratigan_6-29The long-awaited debut of HD takes place today on MSNBC, and also signals the launch of two new day time shows – “Morning Meeting with Dylan Ratigan” from 9-11amET and “Dr. Nancy,” hosted by Dr. Nancy Snyderman (Noon-1pmET). We checked out the premiere episodes. Here’s the recap, featuring a lot of Eliot Spitzer, and not a lot of NoonET actual news:

Ratigan’s show has a major “meeting” focus – when introducing guests, it’s not “welcome to the program,” or “welcome to the show,” it’s “welcome to the meeting.” And who was the featured guest during today’s meeting? Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

Spitzer sat in for four lengthy segments this morning, one each half hour. His total TV time reached more than 30 minutes, with topics ranging from Bernie Madoff to Sonia Sotomayor. The rapport between Ratigan and Spitzer appeared to be comfortable enough for the host to joke, “There’s a reason why he’s a former governor, but that’s a different TV show,” after another guest complimented Spitzer by calling him a “former governor.”

We hear Spitzer will appear periodically on the program, but he won’t be the Mika to Ratigan’s Joe (although, that would be pretty incredible).

There’s also a noticeable Web focus to the show – from the intro, which looks Microsoft Vista-ish, to the graphics, which resemble drop-down menus.

snyderman_6-29After an hour of up-and-comer Carlos Watson, Dr. Nancy took over. For about 90 seconds. She quickly threw to Monica Novotny a regular dayside anchor on MSNBC, who handled the breaking news of Madoff’s sentencing. Novotny’s portion, featuring a report from Peter Alexander lasted about three minutes.

Then it was back to Dr. Nancy, who conducted a lengthy, and fairly meaty, interview with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and FDA Commissioner Dr. Peggy Hamburg (in her first interview). Later in the show Snyderman interviewed Elizabeth Edwards and had segments about the medical portion of the Michael Jackson and Billy Mays stories.

But the problem with the whole show, and one Snyderman is likely to encounter quite often, is there was actual news that had to be covered, relating to Madoff and the Supreme Court decision overruling a Sotomayor case. It was news covered extensively during the NoonET hour by CNN and Fox News, and only touched on briefly in periodic news updates by Novotny on MSNBC.

Having a health-focused hour may not be a bad move by MSNBC, but by putting Snyderman at the helm, it eliminates even the possibility she could legitimately anchor during non-health news. Maybe it’s something MSNBC management can discuss during a future Morning Meeting.

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