MSNBC has gotten a fair amount of PR surrounding the launch of its new afternoon talk program “The Cycle” — much of it centered around the degree to which it rips off Fox News’s hit “The Five.” The formatular imitations are all over the place — like “The Five,” “The Cycle” is an ensemble show in which the hosts (four of them) alternate as discussion leaders and has a lone-wolf ideological dissenter (conservative commentator S.E. Cupp).
What cannot be determined at this point is whether “The Cycle” can replicate “The Five’s” Rollick Factor, defined as the tendency of the participants to rib, elbow and nudge one another into entertaining confessions, proclamations and foolishness.
Never discount that third factor in particular. Getting hosts to say really dumb things requires comfort and chemistry. For a case in point, let’s rewind the videotape to the May 31 edition of “The Five.” Among the many topics covered in the episode was New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s effort to crack down on the size of sugary drinks. Like any responsible ensemble, “The Five” helped itself to the issue of American obesity, and out spilled this exchange of remarkable shelteredness and insularity:
BRIAN KILMEADE: I’m not really sure. But half of New York City evidently is overweight or flat-out obese.
KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE: But where? I don’t see that. I got to tell you. People are rocking it. They’re in shape, they’re moving fast. This is a very competitive, aggresssive environment.