After One Week, Greta Finds Herself In Unfamiliar Territory

ncs_msnbc-greta-for-the-record-studio_006The Cable Gamer didn’t see it coming, but was pleased that one of the great names of cable news found an outlet for her work. Greta van Susteren has a reputation for being scrupulously fair, and her independence (“NO ONE tells me what to say”) is legendary. For its part, MSNBC knew it had a sales job on its hands: a fair and balanced program host was to be part of the lead-in for what isn’t far removed from a prime time block of DNC infomercials. Rachel Maddow was enlisted to pretend she respected Greta (unconvincingly according to some analysts) and starred in promos for the new hire. But there were people who weren’t so happy to see the former CNN and Fox host on MSNBC’s air: the viewers.

From Monday through Thursday For the Record with Greta finished in third place (25-54) behind FNC and CNN. Viewership crept up for a few days only to crater on January 12–her worst number yet, and MSNBC’s lowest-rated hour from 5pm to midnight. Greta’s 157,000 demo viewers represents a pale fraction of the 329,000 who tuned in on January 12, 2016–when she was still on Fox.

Her MSNBC program is almost a carbon copy of the hour she did on FNC. Aside from the opening preposition, they are identically named. And Greta’s non-partisan modus operandi is the same on MSNBC as it was on CNN and Fox:

New channel, same Greta—in her first show since departing Fox News for MSNBC, Van Susteren brought back her patented ideology-free approach…

So what’s different? The audience. MSNBC viewers just aren’t that interested in fair and balanced reporting. In the top 20 cable news programs of 2016 there are five Fox News newscasts–not opinion hours or chat shows, but news programs with journalists at the anchor desk. MSNBC has one: a half-hour show at 11pm (when Fox is airing a repeat), with a discredited anchor whose journalistic bona fides are in tatters. You have to scroll all the way down to #39 to find a second example, and both are far below the lefty prime time block that’s MSNBC’s bread and butter. Simply put the MS viewership is far less interested in news than in party line agit-prop.

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-7-21-17-pmFor that matter, even the Brian Williams experiment isn’t working out as planned. The show has gradually become less news and more a late-night edition of “The Place for Politics,” where multi-headed panels chew over click-bait topics in a low-rent attempt to imitate the CNN style of news analysis. In fact when BriWi isn’t there, they don’t even bother to keep up the “news” pretense. They just let one of their opinionizers sit in his chair and anchor the “newscast,” pretty much positioning the whole show as a continuation of the previous four hours of political talk. (Dissenting opinions are a little more welcome on The 11th Hour, so there is some differentiation from the string of partisan hosts that precedes it.)

On a network where even the “hard news” is compromised to hang on to every possible viewer in their niche audience, how can Greta van Susteren possibly succeed? One week isn’t enough to answer that question, but at this point one of the most successful hosts in cable news history finds herself in unfamiliar ratings terrain: at the bottom.




  1. Tom G

    Greta seems intent on bringing the far right Tea Party fan base she worked so many years to impressively cultivate from Fox News over to MSNBC with her.

    Not sure that’s her best shot at good ratings. But we shall see.


    • Sharon Hoyt

      TP, Conservatives, Republicans, Fox viewers are not going to MSNBC because they have behaved in terrible ways to destroy them….so why would anyone want to help them out for ratings….even if they have Greta on?

      They still have Chris and Rachael…..and the other scum… need to help out MSNBC.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Tom G

        Have you never read Gretawire, Jay? You’d be hard pressed to find a more conservative group of commenters…some even complaining to Greta that in their opinion Fox News was becoming “too liberal for my tastes.” Made me smile at the absurdity of such a comment.


    • James

      That just ain’t gonna happen. Greta got skewered good by loyal fans when she announced her move on face book. People know what MSNBC and CNN are and what the represent. The represent dishonesty and lying. Greta was one of the top ones at Fox and when she decided on MSNBC to many it was like a spouse caught cheating.


      • Tom G

        As a retiree who probably watches too much cable news it seems to me Greta, Megyn, Kurtz (more so a few years ago) and Geraldo all probably suffer from the same challenge when it comes to popularity and/or their ability to attract a huge audience.

        They all have a significant number of viewers who dislike them from both the Left and the Right.This seems obvious. If you disagree, fine.


  2. Wynona R Burgstiner

    I loved Grets’s show in Fox, however those of us in the Central Time Zone find it very difficult to stop dinner prep to watch any show in the 5:00 (6:00 P< ET) time slot. It isn't that I am uninterested it's a time thing when preparing dinner in the evenings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • T.West

      That would actually be a good time for me..listen while preparing. Six o’clock is local news time. I may try recording her, because there is no way I can stomach the rest of MSNBC. I would like to give her a chance to educate the far left that the rest of the US are people too!


  3. criticalpathfinder

    It honestly doesn’t help that the program isn’t listed in my guide past Monday 1/16. What’s up with that? I programmed my DVR from day 1 of the show and watch it daily, although not at 5. (Agree that the time slot is not optimal.) I disagree, wholeheartedly, with the author’s assessment that those of us who watch MSNBC aren’t interested in fair and balanced reporting. Really? What a shallow comment!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chris berry

      I think he meant that most people that watched before Greta aren’t interested in having someone that you can trust to report without left leaning bias, those followers only want Trump/conservative badgers. Those people will never begin to change to a conservative belief system. Remember Jesus had a lot of haters!!!


  4. Stephanie

    Greta is too honest a reporter to appeal to MSNBC typical viewer. They aren’t interested in the truth! Greta does not give up or give in. Hopefully she will cultivate the 25-45 year olds who seek fairness and factual reporting!


  5. JUDY

    I like Greta…but not MSN B.S. I’ll catch Greta on facebook and not watch MSN B.S. because I won’t give them the ratings…not after all the crap they’ve said about Trump and Republicans. NO RATINGS FOR MSN B.S.!!!


  6. Dawn

    Always loved and appreciated Greta. But my TV rarely ever comes off FNC and I find myself torn between trying to support Greta and my loyalty to Brett Baier. Before, I had them both, it’s just difficult to choose.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Janet E Fry

    My Dear Greta, America has made such a point of not being a “judgey” society, that we have become just that! We care about what kind of car you drive, where you live, how much money you have, which political party you join and what channel you watch. Judgey. Can anyone think independently anymore? It’s getting damn scary with all of this pack mentality. People need to focus. Greta you are Greta, just like you stated in an earlier post. It doesn’t matter where you stand to speak your thoughts and ideas. If we respect you and enjoy you, it doesnt matter where you are. Heck, I’d listen to you in your bathroom as long as you wore a Ralph Lauren bath robe and your toilet paper was hanging properly with the paper coming over the top…. Oops I digress. Girl, keep up the good work. I’d follow you where ever you go. Texas Goat Rancher

    Liked by 1 person

  8. C. G. Lindsey

    MSNBC is for the hard core leftist and haven’t watched it. Any broadcasting station that hires Al Sharpton as a host for any of its shows should realize that it can’t portray itself as balanced. Brian Williams is also a disappointment. How do you expect anyone to respect his work when he has lied to the viewership. We enjoyed Greta on Fox as she is a respected lawyer and journalist but doubt that we will watch due to the unreliable, unbalanced and dishonest reporting of MSNBC.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ruth Crefasi

    Greta is the best hands down! She is honest in a time when people are growing very tired of fake news and people that will do anything for ratings. Mark my word, she WILL out-shine them all no matter where she is; and that’s a promise!


  10. Zoe Billigmeier

    I tried. I taped the show three nites then gave up. That wasn’t the Greta I know. The Pelosi interview finished me. Rather than back and forth when Pelosi said something false and ridiculous, Greta just asked her another question to highlight the absurdity rather than contest it with further questions or facts. I decided “Go along to get along.” isn’t for me.


  11. Mike Morales

    Greta is great and her show offers Botha sides an opportunity to hear both sides. I can’t wait to see her interviewing Rush and watch the reaction by the average MSMBC adherent.


    • Tom Bennett

      This is weird.

      This articles comment section had only one comment in the first three days since it was posted on Friday.

      Then BOOM. Today it gets flooded with almost 30 new comments and it’s not even 6p Eastern.

      Presumably someone with heavy traffic linked to it.

      But there is no more and a hyperlink doesn’t appear on Breitbart or Drudge nor is it trending on Twitter.

      If you don’t mind me asking, what brought all you commenters here 3 days after the article was posted?


      • Tom Bennett

        Solved it when I went on Twitter.
        Apparently Greta linked to this article on her Facebook page which really paid dividends with 30+ additional comments.


  12. Billie Murphy

    The reason a lot of Greta fans don’t watch her new show is because it is on at the same time as Bret Baier’s program. I’m not giving up the best hard news show on cable even for Greta, whom I like very much. She also can’t compete with O’Reilly or Tucker. I don’t care for Hannity–too much like Rachael Maddow–so I’ll watch her in that time slot if MSNBC wants to move her. Otherwise, I’ll just tape her occasionally and work her in when it’s convenient for me. I wish she had stayed on Fox where people appreciate a fair and balanced voice.


  13. gtx1209

    Greta is the only show I watch on MSNBC. I have no problem moving with her to another channel. I hated watching a lot of the other people over on FNC. I don’t like watching propaganda wherever it’s coming from and I don’t like people trying to tell me how to think whether it be the right or the left. That is why I like Greta. The windbags on both these channels and CNN can go to blazes as far as I’m concerned. What we need now is people who think not sheep that follow blindly.


  14. ellenlporter

    I would watch her out of curiosity, but we only have one TV and the one who demands power of the remote is loyal to FOX, not Greta. At 6 p.m. (PST) I would be watching local news after the one time out of curiosity. It’s LA local news so good mix of local and national.


  15. Margaret Ragle

    Tried it for a week. John McCain as first interview obviously MSNBC and then a be nice to Pelosi was enough. Watched it for a week and it is MSNBC. Never missed her on Fox. Do not know her problems with them but her interviews and fellow correspondents now do not fit the Greta I loved. Funny she had Megyn get her hour on Fox a few years ago and they end up with the NBC network. Miss Greta and NbBC deserves Megyn.



    I wish you well Greta, and have always been a fan and watched your show, but can not watch MSNBC. Just can’t. Hope you rethink this and get out of that horrible station and back to a real news outlet.



    I like Greta … a lot. I cannot watch that channel. I know that is a sad commentary on me. Hopefully Greta got a great deal to help a failing network.


  18. sharon wickwar

    Greta, like your show. I like hearing from both sides which is why I like MSNBC. You hear from all from parties. One thing that bothers me is the hatred in the hearts of people commenting on your posts. Being a Christian I am so dismayed that people are so intolerant and fill a total comment with hate. Everyone is entitled to an opinion but to spew the hate is like WOW. Your show on FOX must have had a different type of formatt being nothing but hate is the comments including your success on MSNBC.
    Like your show.


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