Rita Bumps Tucker: Situation Goes Late-Night

tucked off.jpgTucker Carlson becomes the second MSNBC stalwart to be displaced by Rick Kaplan’s new favorite Rita Cosby as the network announces that Rita Cosby: Live and Direct will be premiering on Monday, August 8th at 9 pm – Tucker Carlson’s timeslot. Ouch.

The Situation With Tucker Carlson will be moved to 11 pm, bringing MSNBC’s total of first-run prime time programming hours to six. Per the press release, Rick Kaplan’s excited about bringing a live show to the west coast’s 8pm audience; we can assume that Tucker’s excited about going head-to-head with The Daily Show and reruns of The O’Reilly Factor. Or not.

After weeks of critical reviews and dire predictions (Alessandra Stanley, anyone?) – not to mention a pretty impressive advertising juggernaut (including commercials for Tucker during The Daily Show, which was pretty bold), this is not a vote of confidence for team Tucker. Then again, the show’s been running for a grand total of a month and a half. Anyone remember when Jon Stewart played opposite Gillian Anderson and a large fluffy dog in Playing By Heart?

Point being, these things take time. Cosby will be bringing a fan base to her show, and frankly it would have been cool to see what a woman could do with that late-night slot. I would have guessed that people would have tuned in specifically to see it, and Scarborough Country viewers would have stuck around to check it out. Instead, Kaplan panics and yanks a fledgling show, dumping it in an end-of-day timeslot up against two juggernauts, and puts all its money on Rita. Yeah, mid-August is a good time to see how that one plays out.

Update: Tucker and everyone else at MSNBC disagrees with me. Okay then.