Jon Klein on Brian Williams’ New Role at MSNBC: ‘This Is Tailor-Made for Him’

By Mark Joyella 

MSNBC will have more news on Monday, after three canceled shows had their last airings on Friday–The Cycle, Now with Alex Wagner, and The Ed Show.

What happens tomorrow is the beginning of a transition that will ultimately see the return of former NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams. “This is tailor-made for him,” Jonathan Klein, former president of CNN, told the Los Angeles Times. “Being the ringmaster of aggressive news coverage is exactly what he’s great at. They are not talking about giving him a late-night interview show. They are not having him be a comedian. They are having him do something that put him at the top of his craft.”

MSNBC president Phil Griffin was not specific in what Monday’s news lineup will look like exactly, nor when Williams will debut. “Our 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. hours will begin the pivot towards live, breaking news coverage–with interim hosts from among our very talented ranks,” Griffin said in a memo to staff last week announcing the show cancellations. “And then, in September, we’ll unveil a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule driven by dynamic coverage of breaking news events that are shaping the day.”

Klein expects that “dynamic coverage” will include plenty of synergy between MSNBC and NBC News. “When they first went and split, and let MSNBC get into liberal opinion, they had the luxury of a news brand that was riding high,” he said. “Now they need to consolidate.”