MSNBC Eyes Cures for Flagging Ratings
Running third in the cable news race behind Fox News Channel and CNN, MSNBC last week launched a major rebranding effort by wrapping itself in the red, white and blue and calling itself “America’s NewsChannel.” In a memo to staff, MSNBC president Erik Sorenson took thinly veiled shots at his rivals. In contrast to the self-proclaimed “fair and balanced” Fox News, “we’ve always embraced the notion of authenticity in reporting and commentary – combined with real fairness,” he said. And, apparently referring to CNN, he noted that some channels “cut deals with foreign government or foreign broadcasters so as to provide coverage on an international basis to foreign viewers.” In his memo, Sorenson said the channel was “on the verge” of naming an editor in chief. “This person will be critical in ensuring our uniquely American approach and our wildly independent style,” Sorenson said. He’s reportedly talking to Jerry Nachman, former editor of the New York Post, news director of WCBS and executive producer of Politically Incorrect. In the first quarter, in prime time, MSNBC averaged 154,000 viewers in the 25 to 54 demographic (down 10% from a year ago), compared to 437,000 (up 126%) for Fox News Channel and 281,000 (up 41%) for CNN.
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