Michael Smerconish’s Multi-Channel Tryout For “The Big Leagues”

By Chris Ariens 

Gail Shister
TVNewser Columnist

He may not look it, but Michael Smerconish is as Swiss as the Toblerone triangle.

The ubiquitous TV/radio talker, who subbed for Bill O’Reilly and Chris Matthews on the same day twice last week, swears he’s a neutral in the Fox News-MSNBC blood feud.

“I’m aware they’re in the midst of a battle royale. I’m just not part of it,” says Smerconish, 46. “I’m not looking to get into a pissing contest with any of the personalities.

“I’m only that day’s entertainment. I know it sounds hard to believe, but when I walk in the door, I’m a blank slate.”

For a blank slate, Smerconish’s is chock full.

Based in Philadelphia, he hosts a 5-to-9 a.m. radio show on CBS’s WPHT. He’s a regular fill-in for O’Reilly on radio; Glenn Beck on Headline News; and Dan Abrams and Matthews on MSNBC. He appears at least twice a week on MS’s “Race for the White House” with David Gregory.

Oh, and in his free time, he’s working on his fourth book, “Morning Drive: Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Talking.” His last, “Muzzled: From T-Ball to Terrorism,” was a best-seller.

Even Smerconish admits his insane schedule borders on the surreal.

Cue “Twilight Zone” theme.

While on set live for Abrams on MSNBC in April, he caught a glimpse of himself on the monitor subbing for Beck on Headline News. It was the 9pmET rerun of Beck’s 7pmET show, taped earlier that day.

So is Smerconish the hardest working man in show business or just a media whore with a law degree?

“I never feel like a whore,” says the self-described moderate. “I enjoy what I do, most days. I’d be bullshitting you if I didn’t tell you I’m looking to play on a bigger platform.”

Translation: Smerconish’s work-apalooza is really one continuous audition to go national — on TV, radio, or both.

With his WPHT radio contract expiring Dec. 31, it’s unlikely he’ll re-up unless CBS takes the show. He’s about to sign a one-year exclusive TV deal with MSNBC, for whom he’s done a few pilots. He also did one for CNN.

“I’m working my ass off now because I know I can play in the big leagues,” says Smerconish. “After a little taste of that, it’s hard to go back to Triple-A ball.”