Poor MSNBC has always been on the bottom with respect to cable news. For several years it attempted to be a conservative Fox News imitator, believing that’s where the money was. It never did a very good job of it and conservatives never had any reason to leave Fox. After Keith Olbermann became a hit they finally realized that with conservatives dominating the broadcast media, and with CNN having turned into the Conservative News Network(although far less biased than Fox) after Ted Turner left, there was money to be made with offering a home to liberal viewers.
This never worked out too well either. More Democrats wound up watching the convention on CNN than on MSNBC (with Republicans still sticking with Fox). Having Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews anchor political coverage was often more interesting than the other networks, but it was, to be mild, journalistically flawed. This especially proved to be a problem as the reputation of MSNBC also affected the reputation of NBC. The New York Times reports that Olbermann and Matthews are to be removed as anchors for the remainder of the coverage of the election.
From an entertainment point of view I am a little disappointed. MSNBC was often the network to turn to when the actual news was slow. It certainly could not be called objective journalism but it was the next best thing to having Jon Stewart as anchor. Perhaps the best thing to do would be to have a serious anchor and mix in personalities such as Olbermann and Rachel Maddow for commentary from the left, Pat Buchanan and Joe Scarborough for coverage from the right, and I’m not exactly sure what Chris Matthews might be good for beyond random screaming.
For now the plan is to have David Gregory anchor the coverage the nights of the debates and for election night coverage. There will be episodes of Countdown both before and after the debates. Other nights liberals will also have Rachel Maddow, whose new show begins on Monday.