CNN and MSNBC fret over post-Trump future

“What happens,” asked one MSNBC on-air personality, “when you don’t need us?”…

MSNBC viewers can be fickle. Producers watched in amazement as ratings nose-dived during “good news periods” for President Trump. Viewership dropped sharply, for instance, in the days after the release of the report on Mr. Trump and Russia by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, whose conclusions came as a disappointment to many Democrats.

MSNBC viewers also tuned out after Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, and they largely skipped Mr. Trump’s State of the Union address in February, which took place when he was assured of an acquittal in a Senate impeachment trial.

With Mr. Trump so central to MSNBC’s ratings surge, some producers see a slide coming. Others at the network say that Trumpism — with its attendant partisanship and politicization of society — will persist, keeping viewers locked in even after Mr. Trump is no longer in the White House. For now, Mr. Conde is focused on finding ways to introduce MSNBC viewers to news programming on NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock, and network-branded podcasts.