Interesting Developments in Cable News on the Left and Right

by Avik Roy

As Greg Pollowitz noted yesterday, MSNBC has announced that it is moving Ed Schultz, host of its hour-long news show on weeknights at 8 p.m., to a new weekend slot, and replacing Schultz with Chris Hayes, editor-at-large of The Nation and host of “Up with Chris Hayes,” a show that airs from 8 to 10 a.m. on weekends, and has gained a cult following from intellectually inclined progressives (and even many conservatives).

In many ways, the move is emblematic of the evolution of the progressive movement from working-class Midwestern laborites, like Schultz, to younger, Ivy League–educated wonks, like Hayes. Hayes goes out of his way to recruit an ethnically and politically diverse group of panelists, including several who write for NRO. Hayes also makes an effort to have lengthier, more substantive discussions of policy than is typical for the political-talk format.

Those of us who’ve been on the show often talk about how nice it would be to have something comparable on Fox. Fox Business, for example, has negligible ratings on weekends, and could easily replace its lineup of Lou Dobbs reruns with a Chris Hayes–type program on Saturday or Sunday mornings.

The conservative answer to Chris Hayes may come not from Fox but from a new venture, called the One America News Network, announced at CPAC yesterday. Charles Herring, the president of Herring Broadcasting — owners of a channel called Wealth TV — is explicitly going after a right-leaning audience that is “a little more educated, looking for substance with their news,” according to an interview with David Freedlander of the Daily Beast:

[Herring] said he hopes that even the opinion shows will offer a more somber tone than one now found on cable.

“We are really looking for a more substantive debate,” he said. “Why does somebody believe what they believe? No yelling, no shouting, no asking one question trying to define a subject, but really trying to get down to the core of why people believe what they believe. Having people express their views make them think more.”

The One America studio is situated in the same building as the Washington Times, and the fledgling channel aims to take advantage of the Times to help populate the network with journalists who are covering the day’s news.

Here’s hoping that One America does well. Fox has grown a bit comfortable in its personality-driven ratings supremacy, and there is certainly room for a conservative cable news channel with a less noisy style.

The Corner

The one and only.