Assessing “The Situation:” Six Questions For MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson

By Brian 

Five months after leaving CNN, Tucker Carlson will host his first “Situation” tonight at 9pm. “There’s a lot of pressure on launch night,” he says, and he has a bottle of Jim Beam ready for the producers after the show. But he’s ready for his MSNBC debut. Here’s what he told me in an interview last week:

> Why the name “The Situation?” “Situation is a word that’s broad enough to encompass everything that we want to do, which is everything. We want to do all kinds of stories: Pop culture, politics, international stuff, cultural stories — because that’s what I’m interested in. I think that’s what people are interested in.”

> Is this an hour of your own opinions? “No way! I like other points of view. I listen to other points of view. I welcome people with other points of view. This is not going to be a platform for my megalomania. I’m interested in a conversation, not with straw men, not with weak foils while I beat them over the head, but with adults.”

> How is the show “changing the pace of news?” “It’s fast. I hope it’s not bewilderingly fast, and we’re doing real-time test shows every night [before the premiere], so we’ll have a much better sense of how fast we can make it. We’re going to have over 20 stories in every show.”

> What about the competition? “I haven’t thought one moment about counterprogramming,” Carlson swears. He says Larry King is great (“one of the most generous people in TV”) — and he says he doesn’t usually watch Hannity & Colmes.

> It’s a news show? “It’s going to be a news show where the news is broken down, analyzed, and put into context. A lot of times you hear a news story but you don’t know what it means.” He said the tone of the show will be similar to Countdown.

> How’d you choose the regular panelists? Carlson said sixteen people were tested for the positions. “What matters is, how the various people on this show get along…Their political perspectives are almost beside the point. They’re just really interesting people. You get the sense that everyone likes everyone else.”