MSNBC's new management team includes one NBC News veteran and, in a surprise move, one of its best-known talents moving into a management role.
As expected, NBC News senior VP Phil Griffin, also a vet of MSNBC, will be the executive in charge of the network, NBC said Monday.
His top deputy will be Dan Abrams, host of MSNBC legal show The Abrams Report and NBC News' chief legal reporter. Abrams, who has been on-air at MSNBC for nine years, will now be general manager and quit his network show. He will, however, remain NBC's legal ace, providing commentary for NBC News shows, including Today, and for MSNBC.
Along with his new MSNBC duties, Griffin will continue to oversee NBC's Today, a position he has held since April 2005. Previously, he was MSNBC's VP of prime time programming and also has been an executive producer of Hardball with Chris Matthews.
The new executives replace Rick Kaplan, who exited last week after two and a half year tenure that saw MSNBC make some gains in demographic ratings, but failed to move up in the overall ratings race against CNN and Fox News.
"MSNBC is a key asset in the NBC News portfolio and this management restructuring will enable it to build on the momentum it already has," NBC News President Steve Capus said in a statement. "With his nine years of experience at MSNBC, Dan will bring an insider's perspective to the job. Dan is passionate about MSNBC and has the experience and strategic vision to lead it into its second decade. We are also extremely fortunate that Phil Griffin will re-assume a leadership position overseeing MSNBC," Capus continued. "Phil is an immensely talented executive and producer whose insight and drive are welcome as we focus on the future of MSNBC."
Afer ten years of joint ownership with NBC and Microsoft, MSNBC is now solely an NBC operation. The network bought majority interest in the network last year and plans to buy out Microsoft completely. Capus has ultimate oversight for the network and has said he wants to better integrate the operation with the NBC News mothership.
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