Changes In Store For MSNBC

By Chris Ariens 

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NBC/MSNBC Senior VP Phil Griffin says he’s been talking with Shannon High-Bassalik since the summer about joining the cable network. With the network’s planned move across state lines, now became the right time. “We started talking months ago,” Griffin tells TVNewser, “and we didn’t have a role for her.”

The hiring of High-Bassalik as managing editor is part of a management shift at the third place cable network. When MSNBC moves into the 30 Rock headquarters of NBC next month, Griffin will assume day-to-day management of the network with High-Bassalik reporting to him. “I’m not sure we could have done [the management change] without moving to the 3rd and 4th floors of 30 Rock.” Now, instead of across the Hudson River, Griffin will be just down the hall.

As for Dan Abrams, who’s been general manager of MSNBC since June of 2006, he’ll return to anchoring the 9pmET hour on MSNBC.

“We were talking to other people” about hosting the 9pm hour, Griffin says. “Then Dan started to get some numbers, and our eyebrows started to go up.”

“The hard part was convincing them I should be the guy,” Abrams tells TVNewser. “The easy part would have been to keep the GM job. This is kind of the show that I had always dreamed of,” Abrams says of the 9pmET hour. Abrams had hosted the 6pmET program The Abrams Report until last summer when he took on the GM job.

Current news managers: VP Susan Sullivan, and editorial director Davidson Goldin will remain with MSNBC. They are “critical components to running this place,” Griffin says.

Griffin calls High-Bassalik “an all-star” who was “sought-after by FOX, CNN and CBS.” High-Bassalik is a veteran of local news, most recently VP of News at Miami’s CBS duopoly WFOR/WBFS.