MSNBC Asks Guests to ‘Lean Forward’ at Launch Party

By Alex Weprin 

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Last night MSNBC held a launch party for its “Lean Forward” branding campaign at 7 World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan.

Held on the 49th floor of the building, the room had floor to ceiling windows that offered a beautiful unobstructed view of  the midtown skyline and a more sobering one of the construction site at Ground Zero.

While the network’s primetime talent were notably absent (they did have shows to host, after all) a good chunk of the dayside anchors attended.

Among the guests:  MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Contessa Brewer, Chris Jansing, Richard Lui, Martin Bashir, Ed Schultz, Dylan Ratigan, Tamron Hall, Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski as well as NBC’s Lester Holt.

Executives in attendance included NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker, NBC News president Steve Capus and MSNBC president Phil Griffin.

TVNewser spoke to Griffin about the network’s election coverage, including the decision to not have the broadcast network anchors appear on MSNBC. Turns out that may not be the case. With regard to “NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, Griffin said “he might show up.”

Fancy appetizers were passed around, including a foie gras and apple concoction, and an artichoke souffle. On one side of the room a DJ was spinning tunes, next to a  table where silkscreens were put to use on bright yellow t-shirts, emblazoning them with the “Lean Forward” tagline, as well as slogans like “The Future Belongs to the Fearless.”

On the North side of the room, guests were encouraged to literally “lean forward” and look down, as the network projected images on the sides (and rooftops) of buildings nearby.

Video from the party, including Schultz talking about Phil Griffin, and Griffin talking about “Lean Forward,” is below, courtesy of Molly Stark Dean.