NBC Brass Ooze Over 'Compelling' Olbermann as 'Centerpiece' of MSNBC Growth
The NBC announcement that they've kept Keith Olbermann as the erratic quarterback of their anti-Bush offense came larded in praise. First, the NBC News press release:
"Keith Olbermann is a tremendous talent and a superb broadcaster," said NBC News President Steve Capus. "He is an asset to NBC News and the timing of this announcement couldn't be better given the momentum Keith's program is enjoying right now."
A compelling hour of nightly news, delivered with Olbermann's particular wit and style, "Countdown" takes a fast paced look at the top five news stories of the day – from politics to pop culture and from the mainstream to the oddball. The program has enjoyed particular success in the past year, finishing the month of January with an average of 283,000 viewers in the adult demographic (25-54) and 715,000 total viewers, up +89% and +85% respectively, over a year ago.
"I've been overwhelmed by the support for this newscast, both inside NBC, and among our remarkable viewers," said Olbermann. "I'm delighted we can continue 'Countdown,' and continue to try to hold politicians and other newsmakers accountable for what they are doing, or not doing."
Then Brian Stelter at TVNewser offers nuggets of detail of the conference call with Steve Capus:
-- "When you look at what the program Countdown has done at MSNBC, it has really been the centerpiece for the resurgence and the real growth at MSNBC, this makes all the sense in the world."
-- Capus says Olbermann's Nightly News essays will be "produced stories that would fit in naturally with Nightly News." He cited Olbermann's work in the wake of the Pope's death as an example.
-- Is Capus concerned about linking Olbermann to NBC at a time when commentators like Bill O'Reilly frequently accuse the net of a liberal bias? He says: "I believe that the viewers are sophisticated enough to know what messages are being offered to them, and the viewers have spoken on this by the ratings performance on MSNBC."
In other words, liberal messaging sells.