Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Grossman: Move MSNBC Away From NBC News

NBC should move MSNBC away from its news division and place it under its cable group, so says Ben Grossman of the trade publication Broadcasting & Cable.

So after watching all the drama recently, I have one solution that would allow both brands to continue as independent success stories: separate them. NBC should pull MSNBC out from under the NBC News umbrella altogether. Put it in the cable group alongside USA and Bravo and all its other money-printing brands that are carrying the NBCU portfolio. Just have NBC News program certain shows or dayparts on MSNBC, as it does on the NBC broadcast network.

With one move, MSNBC would be free to pursue the borderline-brilliant programming strategy that has elevated the network, while at the same time protecting the venerable NBC News brand, which is a bit under siege following the loss of Tim Russert and the silliness that occurred during the conventions.

I'm old-school when it comes to terms such as “television news.” I was trained by some fantastic news people like the late, great Jim Thistle in Boston University's broadcast journalism program. I still believe that the person who presents the news should be completely objective, leaving the clearly defined analysts to then weigh in with opinions.

Even then, those analysts don't necessarily need to be one-sided to provide invaluable commentary. Russert taught us all that. And that's where NBC fell down when it let Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews anchor convention coverage.

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