Lawrence O’Donnell On TV News: ‘I still don’t get this kind of television. I don’t’

By Alex Weprin 

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell is interviewed by Salon. The interview focuses on O’Donnell’s cameo in the new movie “Olympus Has Fallen,” and segues into his scripted TV past and cable news present. O’Donnell plays himself working at a fictional TV news channel in the movie. When asked why he says yes to appearing in films, O’Donnell replied:

Because I miss show business so desperately that I will do anything short of pornography at this point to hang around sets and have fun.

Sets are really fun workplaces and everyone there is creative and energetic. These are the most creative electricians in the world. They’re not the electricians who come to your house. They’re the most creative carpenters, the most creative carpenters, writers, directors, directors of photography: there’s a great spirit to a film set that is unique in American workplaces by far. And it is the most fun I’ve had in my professional life.

He was also asked whether he had any advice for his new primetime colleague Chris Hayes:

I think what has worked very well is Rachel Maddow just being Rachel. I don’t think there’s anyone who could give Rachel advice about anything. She just came in and just did the show she wanted to do. And it’s the biggest hit the network has. I make it up every day.

I still don’t get this kind of television. I don’t. And it’s not a business that I feel I have a working understanding of, unlike prime-time commercial entertainment television or HBO and Showtime. I understand completely what they do, and I want to do what they do. But on a news show? I have no advice for anyone.