Is MSNBC's Programming Idiocy, Or Am I Missing Something?

So on the weekdays MSNBC’s programming is what I would call “smart”: Rachel Maddow, Kieth Obermann, Chris Matthews, etc., as well as generally accurate news coverage. Then on Fridays at 11 pm the programming goes straight to “UltraStupid” with nothing but coverage of what it’s like to be in prison for the entire weekend, more or less. Not thoughtful examinations of our penal systems, just endless recountings of what it’s like for prisoners to be in jail, which so far as I can tell, is mostly unrelieved boredom with rare bits of physical violence thrown in. And if you think unrelieved boredom at first hand is dull, try watching a program about it!

Why does this happen? Why does a channel that has clearly taken great pains to develop a strong slate of progressive news commentary and accurate news reporting, decide its best programming choice for weekends is absolutely the stupidest thing short of professional wrestling there is, i.e., “Lockup: Raw” and its ilk?

Is this counterprogramming? Is there some little-known taste for prison stories among progressively-oriented TV news viewers? What the hell?

Yeah, I’ve often wondered if they just have one lonely intern working at the station with a backlog of Sensational True Crime news stories that he just hits the PLAY button on from Friday night to Monday morning.

MSNBC originally started out as more documentary focused news channel, with longer interview and news pieces than CNN. When Fox News surged ahead of their competitors with hours of opinionated talk show hosts and short news segments, MSNBC began to follow. The progressive talk lineup came years after the “UltraStupid.”

The weekend documentary lineup is kind of the legacy of late 90s MSNBC. A lot of it is just repackaged Dateline segments, which explains the dumbness. Plus, most news reporting concerns politics and the market, and those movers and shakers take the weekends off, so there isn’t much news to report on until Monday morning and weekend news gets lower ratings than on the weekdays. MSNBC executives must feel it’s cheaper to rerun true crime stories than compete with CNN and Fox News on those days.

A great question! I’ve also often wondered why my favorite and most watched channel transitions into something completely unwatchable at 11 on Fridays. Seriously it’s sad how big a problem this is for me, I mean on weekends I actually have to watch Fox News! It’s an outdated remnant of that network that really kills the whole “THE Place for Politics” vibe they’ve been building up.

I just wish they would at least replay the prime time shows on Friday night like they do the rest of the week so that I can catch up on the bits I missed before they become “THE Place for Boring Prison Show Repeats” all weekend, it would require no more effort on their part, it would make my life a whole lot easier, it would help their brand, and I don’t think there would get a lot of guff from whoever apparently watches those same shows in the middle of the night.

I just knew I wasn’t the only one driven crazy by this, I’ll just keep holding on to hope that they will eventually come to their senses.

I’m baffled why MSNBC didn’t buy Air America. It would have fit in perfectly with their goal of being the liberal Fox News and would have given them a whole bunch of talent to fill their weekend hours. That’s where they got Rachel Maddow. They could have picked up the whole network for a song and re-branded it as MSNBC Radio.

I was going to respond to this thread, but I can’t take my eyes off “Broken Vows”.

This makes a lot more sense than anything I can come up with, though I seriously gotta wonder what happens to the network’s ratings over the weekend. They have to seriously tank if most of their progressive news viewers feel the same way I do about the dreck they show on weekends. Couldnt they show something cheap but inoffensive, like reruns of “Bill Nye the Science Guy” and, well, almost anything other than what they show?

Well not everyone they had on the air was great. It was Al Franken and Rachel Maddow and not a whole lot else. Franken has found other employment, they did get Maddow. I would suggest they got as much of the network as they wanted and could get.

Maybe they figure that their target audience of smart people sleeps regular hours and “has a life” on weekends?


I’ve seen nothing to indicate that MSNBC has any desire to be the “liberal” Fox News. They’ve got several hours per night of talk hosts who go from leaning kinda liberal to quite liberal. Then they’ve got 3 hours in the morning of Morning Joe - featuring a very conservative ex-Republican.

Fox News has a Republican agenda, and they lie in order to promote that agenda all the time, in their opinion and news segments. They actively promote right wing groups and causes, then “cover” the events they help set up.
When MSNBC airs segments devoted to lionizing Code Pink and, then I’d say you have a point.

Well, I like Rachel Maddow, and watch her fairly regularly, and while I’m not a big fan of Lockup, I like the true crime documentaries, and the To Catch a Predator repeats when they have them.