MSNBC has announced that it’s moving Chuck Todd’s weekday 1pm show from MSNBC to its streaming service, where it’ll die a quiet death due to lack of interest. Todd’s 1pm MSNBC slot will go to Chris Jansing, who was already in house. Why did MSNBC finally oust Chuck Todd? Enough of you stopped watching him, so his show became unprofitable, setting the stage for Trevor Noah’s joke to be the tipping point.
So why is Chuck Todd still hosting Sunday morning Meet The Press on NBC? He still gets strong ratings on that show. Unfortunately, Chuck Todd wrote the modern playbook for Sunday morning ratings success: pretend both sides are the same, to appeal to people in the middle who want to believe both sides are the same. Falsely normalize Republicans, so right wingers will watch. Falsely scandalize Democrats, so liberals will hate-watch. Instant ratings from all sides.
Most (not all) Sunday morning shows on other networks have since shifted to the Chuck Todd model of total bullshit, and their ratings have gone up as well. NBC thought that same ratings formula would translate to MSNBC on the weekdays, but it did not. He failed at 5pm weekdays, so he was moved to the less important 1pm weekday slot, where he also failed, and now he’s been moved to streaming purgatory.
I’ve heard from various daily MSBNC viewers who watched Chuck Todd just to curse at him, or muted him and left it on in the background until the hour was over, without realizing that both these behaviors help his ratings. But once enough viewers finally began outright turning him off, that was the beginning of the end.
But NBC will not remove Chuck Todd from Sunday Meet The Press as long as his ratings are strong. The only way to oust him from that crucial role is to educate the kind of people in your life who watch Sunday morning shows, so they understand how Chuck Todd is bullshitting them.
It’s not just Chuck Todd. Sunday morning shows, on the whole, have become just as fictional as Fox News. And arguably more dangerous, because normal sane people watch Sunday morning network shows with the expectation of honesty, while Fox panders to unwell people.
Notably, Tiffany Cross and Jonathan Capehart have been doing an honest job of hosting Sunday morning shows on MSNBC, proving honesty can deliver decent ratings, even on Sunday. But if they were on NBC or ABC or CBS, their honesty would probably get them labeled “biased” by the kinds of audiences who think both sides are the same.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report