As you may have heard, MSNBC has lately become the Jacksonville Jaguars of cable news. Just 20 months ago, it was coming off its best year — a year that featured a custom-made presidential matchup for its progressive hosts to dissect on a daily and nightly basis: A sitting black Democratic president versus a real-life Republican Gordon Gekko. Black vs. white. Rich vs. poor. Hell, women vs. (GOP) men. The script couldn’t have written itself better for the “Lean Forward” network, who pushed these narratives hard all the way to election day.
A few months later (March 2013), MSNBC President Phil Griffin set his sights on the always-dominant Fox News, declaring his network will overtake first place in the cable news race by the end of that year. A bold, albeit completely unrealistic statement to make, at least that’s what I wrote at the time. Instead, I cautioned Mr. Griffin that he might want to keep an eye on CNN sitting behind him instead…given the big changes promised by its then-new president Jeff Zucker and the Time Warner resources he would have at his disposal.
So in February of this year, Griffin gives Farrow — who hadn’t even hosted a community access show before — his own program. The plan was to bring in a younger audience, so why not put him at 1:00 p.m. ET when just a shade over zero of Millennials are actually watching TV?