Coming soon to Fox News …?

Ever since Keith Olbermann and MSNBC parted company last week, speculation has continued about whether Fox News might give a show to the former Countdown host as a sort of coup against its media critics who charge Fox with being too ideologically homogeneous.  It seems as though people haven’t credited Fox News chief Roger Ailes for having a grander vision.  According to an interview with Esquire, Ailes has offered at least a one-time special to a liberal icon — one with significantly higher stature than an MSNBC host (via the Daily Caller and Weekly Political Review):

On Liberal Voices at Fox

Tell me who you want to see on the left and I’ll hire them. If you give me a big name that’s out there, that’s floating around and wants work, I’d be happy to hire them. We have Ed Rendell, I mean he was the head of the Democratic party. He’s on twice a week. You can’t get any bigger than that. I go for people who will get ratings, but I’d be happy to put a bigger name Democrat on if you’ve got one. Now that probably surprises you and won’t get into the story, but it’s true. I want people who have marquee value.

On Bill Clinton, Talk-Show Host

Well, I talked to him. The problem with Bill is he won’t be as good on a talk show as you’d think. Because, first of all, he never shuts up. I mean he cannot hit time cues. But I went up to Harlem, I met with him for an hour, an hour and a half, I asked him to do a special, which he’s still thinking about. I’d like to have it; I’d like to have him do a special for us. The problem with him in a talk-show mode is not that he’s not charming, good, smart, and glib. He is. But he loves to talk about policy. He’s actually a policy wonk. So if you really want eighteen minutes on ethanol, he’ll give it to you. But it won’t get ratings. So you have to be able to produce him and say, “Most people are not that interested in ethanol, Mr. President. What we’d like you to talk about is this.” And if he would stick with current affairs and stick with the clock, he’d be one of the great talk-show people in the world.

What a shock!  Roger Ailes turns out to be a businessman.  Give him an idea that will drive ratings and ad sales, and he’ll put it into action.  But to do that, the proposed show has to have “marquee value,” and that’s something that may be missing from Olbermann.  He had the highest-rated show on MSNBC, but that’s a bit like having the highest batting average in AAA ball.

Speaking of MSNBC, Ailes gets in a dig at their new slogan:

I stuck it to them with “Move Forward.” That really irritates the shit out of them. They paid Spike Lee $3 million for “Lean”? What kind of word is that? Who wants to lean? Good Lord. Isn’t that their problem — that they’re leaning?

But Bill Clinton would mean big ratings, at least for specials, if for no other reason than the sheer novelty.  What other American President has hosted a TV talk show?  For that matter, what other American President would consider hosting a TV talk show?  Unlike Olbermann, most Americans like Clinton and would at least be inclined to give him a chance, perhaps especially those viewers who aren’t already watching Fox. The problem, as Ailes notes, would be to get Clinton to shut up to hit his timing marks so that Fox can actually sell the ads.  If you think that would be easy, just recall what happened when Clinton appeared as a guest at Barack Obama’s press conference in December.

The key here might be to pair Clinton with someone more experienced in television and/or radio. How about a Rush Limbaugh/Bill Clinton duo? Take that, Parker/Spitzer!

Would you watch a Bill Clinton show on Fox News?  Take the poll: