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Lack backs MSNBC, questions ABC/CNN

NBC president and former newsman Andrew Lack Wednesday gave a vote of confidence to ratings-challenged MSNBC while raising doubts about the success of
an ABC News/Cable News Network merger.

In a speech at a Media Institute luncheon in Washington, D.C., he conceded
that third-place MSNBC is struggling with its talk format and gave credit to Fox News Channel
and CNN for doing well with their opinion-based programs.

But he also said MSNBC "will pull themselves out of it. I'm not

Programming is cyclical, he added, and MSNBC is just going through "a rough
patch." They, and all the cable news operations, he said, are still doing good

Although the cable news networks are fighting for relatively small share of
the audience, Lack called it a very valuable, important and influential audience
off which cable news networks "make a pretty good buck."

Of a possible CNN/ABC meld, he said: "What I don't like
about it is that it looks like two guys are jumping into each other's arms
because they want to save a buck. That usually isn't a good recipe for making a
better organization."

And even if it is just a case of money, he added, "I don't think the gigantic
cost savings are there."