While controversy continues to swirl over MSNBC's new weekend talk host,
Michael Savage, the program's debut attracted a modest audience.
The Savage Nation attracted a 0.5 rating and 503,000 viewers for its
March 8 debut.
That's 98 percent more viewers than MSNBC usually draws this year on a
Saturday afternoon, but just slightly above its prime-time average.
Even if Savage held back his more controversial views, some advocacy groups
are still railing against his show.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation contended that NBC News executives
were forced to put strict controls on Savage for his premiere.
"Clearly, they fear that without these controls, he will revert to the types
of bombastic, inflammatory diatribes targeting minorities upon which he built
his reputation," GLAAD executive director Joan M. Garry said in a prepared statement.
GLAAD said this week that it has abandoned attempts to meet with MSNBC and NBC News
The alliance added that network executives wanted to bar the group from discussing the meeting
with "our constituents, our coalition partners, or the media."
Groups including GLAAD -- which contended that Savage attacks "women, people of
color, immigrants and the lesbian and gay community" -- and the National
Organization of Women are also pressing for advertisers to boycott the
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