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MSNBC’s New New Plan For Daytime: “Give Me The Facts, Ma’am”

brewer_12-28The recent programming changes at MSNBC – Dr. Nancy canceled, Dylan Ratigan moving to 4pmET, Chuck Todd/Savannah Guthrie to host new 9amET show – signal a shift in the strategy for the network.

And MSNBC is explaining why the plan in June has been scrapped fora new one.

The Associated PressDavid Bauder talked to MSNBC President Phil Griffin about the changes. “We did some experimentation to find out what the audience during the daytime wants and I think we found out they want your basic facts – give me the facts, ma’am,” Griffin said. “We can still do it with our passion and a fast pace.”

But it wasn’t always this way – just six months ago Griffin was convinced the personality-driven approach would work better. As TVNewser noted, the original plan was for “Appointment TV,” to move the dayside formula “away from the TelePrompTer headline news.” It didn’t work – MSNBC’s daytime hours finished in 5th place in the A25-54 demographic, even below CNBC – and now they’re back to the prompter.

There’s also this quote from Griffin: “All three cable networks kind of struggle during the day trying to figure out their identity. We’re going to get into a more aggressive headline and information programming.”

Bauder doesn’t explore how exactly Griffin thinks CNN and Fox News are ‘struggling’ to ‘figure out their identity’ but it seems that they’ve figured out their identity long ago. For years, FNC and CNN have been in news hours, similar to what MSNBC will employ in January, from 9amET-4pmET (and beyond for CNN). Say what you want about CNN’s prime time ratings, but during the day they are a solid #2 beyond a surging FNC, and they seem to have their identity pretty clear. Of course, Fox News dominates both CNN and MSNBC in the ratings during the day (and all hours).

Meanwhile, Bauder touches on another question of identity – MSNBC weekends. We noted several times the lack of live coverage from MSNBC concerning the attempted terror attack, and how CNN and Fox News covered the story far more. When asked for comment, an MSNBC spokesperson told Mediaite, “We cut-in to our regular programming with updates on the story throughout the afternoon and evening.”

One final note: the Wikipedia MSNBC schedule for January, first reported by Inside Cable News, is not accurate, confirms MSNBC. The more specific anchor breakdowns have not yet been announced.

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