The NY Observer’s Felix Gillette reports that MSNBC was not originally planning to air last Friday’s Haiti telethon, but that internal lobbying from the two primetime anchors resulted in execs making a last-minute switch:
On the morning of the telethon, MSNBC executives woke up planning to stick with the networkâ€™s usual programming. As the day progressed, according to multiple sources, a vocal group inside the network began lobbying MSNBC president Phil Griffin to turn over the MSNBC airtime to the worthwhile cause.
One of the Newtonian laws of television journalism is that anchors never willingly preempt their own airtime. But according to sources, it was Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow who led the charge, despite the fact that the event with [Anderson] Cooper and company would push them out of prime time.
Gillette also reports that MSNBC did not initially have the rights to the special and that Griffin ended up contacting CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton directly for assistance in securing the broadcast.