So far this year, Fox News has seen a lot of turmoil among its biggest names. Meanwhile, other networks have been able to sit back, point fingers and grin a little bit about the negative headlines generated by the troubles suffered by their competition. Then, somewhat out of nowhere, MSNBC stalwart Lawrence O’Donnell tweeted up a firestorm.
Most of the media world was likely unaware that O’Donnell was in contract negotiations with his network, much less that those negotiations were not going very well. Here’s O’Donnell’s tweet: “Contract expires June 4. I’ll let you know where you can watch me June 5 if it’s not MSNBC. I’m sorry this situation has become public.”
Well, it hadn’t really been “public,” as it were, but it certainly was now. No one can really say for sure if this was a legitimate complaint, or if O’Donnell was trying to put some pressure on his bosses to open up the checkbook a little bit wider, but the tweet sure generated a lot of attention.
By the following day, CNN was publishing headlines openly wondering if O’Donnell was done at MSNBC, and other networks were all being named as his next destination … and this is even before anyone knew how the contract negotiations were even going.
So, CNN asked, and MSNBC said: “negotiations were ongoing…” But CNN asked some of O’Donnell’s friends, who contradicted that story, saying the network was no longer negotiating with the news anchor. No one really had any idea what was happening, but that sure didn’t stop them from reporting on it. Some networks speculated openly that O’Donnell’s people were trying to get him more cash, or that he was about to jump ship, much like Megyn Kelly had at Fox.
A writer at the Huffington Post came out and said MSNBC was “not interested” in making a deal with O’Donnell. That, as it turned out, was more than a bit premature. About a day after the whole thing started, it ended just as suddenly, with the announcement that O’Donnell and MSNBC had reached a deal.
Nobody released any details, but all sides did say they were just about pleased as punch with proceedings. O’Donnell had the last word, once again in a tweet: “I will be saying hi to Rachel @maddow at 10 p.m. for the foreseeable future.”
So, was this all much ado about nothing, or was it a very clever PR plan to grab attention to the network and its most visible stars, O’Donnell and Maddow? Opinions vary, but one thing is for sure, it got people talking.