MSNBC, Promoting From the Bottom Up

Dan Abrams takes over day-to-day operations at MSNBC, giving up the show he's guided to the ratings cellar.
Dan Abrams takes over day-to-day operations at MSNBC, giving up the show he's guided to the ratings cellar. (Msnbc)
By Lisa de Moraes
Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The anchor of one of MSNBC's lower-rated shows has been put in charge of day-to-day operation of the ratings-starved cable news network.

On the other hand, Dan Abrams gives great e-mail.

Abrams, son of high-profile First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams, was named general manager of the NBC-owned cable network yesterday.

He will report to Phil Griffin, who was named executive in charge of MSNBC.

Griffin will continue to oversee NBC's "Today" show, as he has done for a little more than a year.

The new team replaces Rick Kaplan, who last week stepped down as president of MSNBC.

Kaplan had reported directly to NBC News President Steve Capus, who said yesterday they were very fortunate that Griffin, an MSNBC alum who most recently had been in charge of its prime time, would reassume a leadership position. Capus also acknowledged that putting Abrams in charge of day-to-day operations was a bit unorthodox.

But, Capus noted, so was naming NBC sports producer Jim Bell executive producer of "Today" in April '05. Except that Bell had at least some producing credits. Among other things, he was coordinating producer for NBC's Olympics coverage, responsible for all aspects of nearly 100 hours of afternoon and late-night Olympic programming during the 2004 Athens Summer Games, producer for NBC's broadcasts of the NFL, MLB and NBA, the French Open and Wimbledon. You know -- he'd run things.

Ah, but Abrams told The TV Column, he's run "The Abrams Report."

"I have been running my show for the last 4 1/2 years with a staff of 15 people and dealing with many of the same issues I'll be dealing with on a grander scale running the network," Abrams told The TV Column.

And how's that been going? Let's look at May, shall we? At 4 p.m. "The Abrams Report" clocked 211,000 viewers, while Wolf Blitzer's "The Situation Room" on CNN averaged nearly 500,000 viewers and Fox News Channel's "Your World With Neil Cavuto" averaged nearly 800,000.

At 6 p.m., "The Abrams Report" averaged 253,000 viewers, to Lou Dobbs's 813,000 on CNN and Brit Hume's 1.2 million viewers on FNC.

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