Andrew Lack, the new head man at NBC News, says big changes are in the works for MSNBC, which has been struggling to keep pace with its cable news rivals.
Among the changes that are on the table, according to a report in the New York Daily News, is a name change. The change would be part of an extensive rebranding that appears to be moving forward at MSNBC.
Lack unveiled some of the plans at a packed town hall meeting Thursday at 30 Rock in New York for NBC News and MSNBC staffers. One staffer who was at the meeting told the Daily News: “Andy said he’s contemplating a name change because Microsoft is no longer a part of the channel — and hasn’t been for a long time.”
The source added: “He asked for a show of hands,” apparently seeking to find out whether staffers considered the move to be a good idea. “No one raised their hands and he moved on pretty quickly.”
Deadline.com notes that Lack, in his first town hall meeting since becoming NBC News Group chairman four months ago, “laid out plans to greatly increase collaboration between the ratings-starved cable news network and NBC News as part of a strategy to focus on breaking news on the cable network and de-emphasize left-leaning opinion programming.”
Lack reportedly did not give specifics about any programming changes. But the meeting followed news that “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd appears to be headed back to MSNBC to anchor a new one-hour show, as we reported yesterday. Various media outlets have reported that Todd’s show may revive the name of his old MSNBC show, “The Daily Rundown.”
In a report released prior to Thursday’s meeting, Mediaite was citing “a well-placed source” saying a number of changes were about to be announced affecting MSNBC’s afternoon lineup. News of these changes, however, did not surface from the meeting.
Mediaite reported at the time that “The Cycle,” “Now with Alex Wagner” and “The Ed Show” were all on the way out.
The Mediaite report adds: “Andrea Mitchell will keep her program at noon (‘Andrea Mitchell Reports’). Thomas Roberts will continue to anchor his midday news program from 1:00-3:00 PM. The programs being cancelled at 3:00 PM (‘The Cycle’) and 4:00 PM (‘Now with Alex Wagner’) will be replaced by a straight news program (similar to Roberts’ two-hour newscast preceding it). Whether that 3:00-5:00 PM slot goes to Brian Williams is not known at this time, but it would certainly make the most sense to put Williams directly up against Fox’s Shepard Smith (‘Shepard Smith Reporting’) and CNN’s Brooke Baldwin (‘CNN Newsroom’) for the first hour in a similar format.”