Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining: Could Olbermann Break Away from MSNBC?
Keith Olbermann’s indefinite suspension by MSNBC is generating a lot of discussion about the amount of control corporations have over individual’s’ political speech. It looks messy and grim from the outside, given MSNBC’s arbitrary application of ethics policies about political donations by their talent, and the slowly tightening grip of MSNBC’s new owner, Comcast.
But what if there was a silver lining in all of this messiness? What if there was an opportunity for Olbermann to vacate his contract and leave MSNBC and go some place else which was less restrictive?
Let’s look at a demographic challenge which confronts all broadcast and cable television outlets. Young people have been fleeing television in droves for most of the last decade. What do they watch when they do watch television, whether broadcast or cable?
In particular, can you think of a single evening program any of the savviest, coolest young people watch on cable outlets CNN, CNBC, Fox? What are they tweeting about or talking about at the watercooler? It’s not one of those networks. It’s been the content at MSNBC which sets folks under 50 years of age to tweeting, blogging and talking, and that content included Keith Olbermann.
What if that content started to migrate to a cable outlet which was much more focused on content and didn’t have the added weight of cable provider around its neck?
What if that content provider had plenty of room for someone like Olbermann, and with a looser format and maybe even a bit more sports thrown in?
What if there were programming preceding and following Olbermann that young people actually liked and wanted to stick around for afterward?
Let’s hope they catch the clue, because it would be really fun to watch Olbermann-O’Brien-Lopez as a line up every evening.