Is MSNBC Rattled by Imus?

By kevin Comment

scarboroughimus10-15.jpgPage Six reports that Joe Scarborough is “under intense pressure to perform” now that Don Imus’ FBN simulcast has debuted and competes head to head with his “Morning Joe.” Page Six’s source said:

“Those higher up at MSNBC are unnerved by Imus’ move to Fox Business Network and fear his show could push Scarborough down. They’re putting a lot of pressure on Joe to keep the ratings up. To make things worse, there are multiple scores to be settled.”

Tom Bowman, Imus’ EP, worked at NBC and MSNBC for several years. He was at the helm of Imus’ show when it aired on MSNBC.

An MSNBC insider tells TVNewser, “The only thing accurate about the Page Six story is that Imus is not on our radar.”

Ratings wise, while Imus edged out his business channel competition in his first week, he has some ground to cover before he contends with MSNBC. Says out insider, “His TV launch has had absolutely no impact on ‘Morning Joe’ – in fact, ‘Morning Joe’ showed growth in both total viewers and the demo week-to-week with Imus as a competitor. In all honesty — we wish him well. But not a factor.”

Meanwhile, not so positive news for Scarborough’s radio show. WMAL in Washington D.C., announced this week it is removing the show. Chris Plante, son of CBS News White House correspondent Bill Plante will take the slot beginning Monday.

Our calls to a publicist for the radio program were not returned, but Scarborough did tweet today that he’ll be “picking up some stations in Florida soon.”

Update: WABC President and General Manager Steve Borneman point out that Scarborough “is not being canceled in DC, his time slot is being moved to evenings because that is a better fit for WMAL.” He also told TVNewser, “Joe’s show is gaining stations on a national platform weekly. Joe’s audience has grown 72% from August to September in DC and I believe his numbers will continue to grow.”