Phil Griffin on MSNBC’s ‘Eureka Moment,’ Managing Personalities, and CNN

By Alex Weprin Comment

As MSNBC celebrates its 15th anniversary today, MSNBC president Phil Griffin spoke to Forbes’ Jeff Bercovici. Griffin discussed the network’s evolution, as well as its cable news competition.

When asked if MSNBC had a “eurka moment,” Griffin said:

I think the eureka moment was recognizing that this is really a niche. Cable is a niche space. We sort of defined ourselves. We decided to be “the place for politics,” and we committed to it and made it real. And ever since that time, late 2006 or early 2007, we’ve been on a total positive trajectory.

He also discussed wrangling talent, often a major challenge when strong personalities are involved:

If you want to play it safe and have blow-dried anchors and guests and hosts, you can play it safe. We encourage people to put themselves out there. From time to time, people go off the rails. It’s human nature. You have to discipline. You have to make sure you have lines of what’s appropriate, and you address them when you need to. I don’t think it’s the end of the world, but you have to have those lines.

You can read the entire interview here.