One Hour Or 24, For Abrams It Came Down To A Choice

By Gail Shister 

Gail Shister
TVNewser Columnist

His management tenure was the shortest in MSNBC history, and Dan Abrams couldn’t be happier.

After three months of juggling his general manager duties with his “temporary” 9pmET show, something had to give. For the A-Man, it was his nameplate on the organizational flow chart. (Talent rules!)

“In my mind, doing this show at this time in MSNBC history is the holy grail,” he says. “Keith Olbermann is delivering numbers [at 8pmET] that this network has never seen before.

“That allows me to be much bigger and broader than just legal. I can do a sort of snarky look at the most talkable stories of the day.” Along with a nightly “Winners and Losers” segment.

And this differs from Olbermann’s Countdown how, exactly?

“I have a totally different sensibility than Olbermann,” says Abrams, 41, a Court TV alum. “This is a companion show. I have no interest in doing Keith Olbermann.”

Abrams, who began his management stint in June ’06, will turn over the reigns to NBC’s Phil Griffin when MSNBC relocates to 30 Rock in mid-October.

As GM, Abrams “liked helping re-shape the network,” but when the 9 p.m. hour was added, it distracted him from his front office responsibilities, he says. “I realized I couldn’t do both.” At some point, he says he may return to management.

Abrams describes Live with Dan Abrams as “sarcastic at times, opinionated, sometimes ironic, sometimes subtle. I state my opinions, but they’re opinions based on fact. Sometimes people develop opinions based on completely inaccurate, warped facts.”

Well, Dan, speaking of opinions, what’s yours on whether O.J. Simpson will go to jail for his latest escapades in Vegas?

“It is likely he will serve time as result of this because he is O.J. Simpson and the world wants to see him behind bars. When you’re O.J. Simpson and you are so uniformly disliked, you have a non-legal burden against you. Jurors and judges are all human.”