Thanks to the progress of technology the Cable Game is becoming more than just cable, with online news programming assuming a greater role than ever (CBS News took what might have been its cable channel directly to online streaming). Newsmax TV, a streaming service, can be termed “cable news” in the purest sense of that term, since it’s carried by some cable providers, DirecTV and Dish Network (cable and satellite alone place Newsmax TV in some 40 million homes). Its line-up of originals is supplemented by paid programming and documentaries during the “off-hours.”
The Daily Wrap is the newest addition to the schedule; it’s a panel discussion show, a time-honored format that has been around for nearly half a century. Does Wrap hinge on some innovative gimmick, like Outnumbered‘s gender gang-up? Not really, but its tempered discourse, unlike the verbal pyrotechnics seen on shows like The Five, helps it stand out. Of the panelists on the May 12th installment (co-host Rick Ungar, Heather Hansen and Brad Hirschfield) Ungar was the most likely to make some point in a slightly flamboyant fashion, maybe due to his background in talk radio. All three seemed quite civil, often thoughtful, and willing to venture outside the ideological box. Joe Concha, who has considerable experience as a cable news opinionizer, proved to be a generous moderator, giving his panelists plenty of time while occasionally injecting his own viewpoint into the mix. (In this he couldn’t be more different from his time slot competitor on MSNBC.) I’d like to see a touch more vocal energy in Concha’s laid-back hosting—but just a touch. The lack of bedlam is one of The Daily Wrap‘s most distinctive qualities.
The show is watchable on a technical level if not exactly impressive. Transitions from clips to discussions: not always perfect. Rudimentary bumpers. Smallish studio, not very imaginatively laid out. But you didn’t expect the Fox News deck, did you? Even so, The Cable Gamer is impressed by how good it looked on what has to be a shoestring budget, better than the early years of some other online endeavors. Besides, content is king on this sort of show, and if you grew up on Agronsky & Company or recall the glory days of Washington Week in Review, here is a nightly version that combines some of the best features of both with a modest right-of-center vibe.
Via youtube here’s the episode we reviewed.