Monday, November 13, 2006

All Hail Keith

MSNBC learned once that if you put someone on to the left of everyone else on the teevee you might actually get some viewers. Then they fired him. Dan Abrams' predecessor was wedded to the idea that CNN was for Democrats, Fox was for Conservatives, and therefore MSNBC's target audience was moderate Republicans. All 5 of them.

Hopefully Abrams is a bit smarter than that:

Suddenly, everyone wants Olbermann. Last week, he and political veteran Chris Matthews teamed up to anchor MSNBC's midterm election coverage.

The result? Abrams called it "a major turning point for this network.'' Ratings were up across the board and the coveted 25-to-54 age demographic increased 111 percent from the 2002 midterm election.

What's next? Expect to see Olbermann in even more mainstream settings. The one thing he is resisting, however, is pressure to produce more "Special Comments.'' He has to feel them, he says. "Otherwise I will turn into a cartoon of myself.''

Certainly it is the passion that carries the day. As Abrams says, "Keith isn't faking this, and the viewers can see that.''