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DRUDGE REPORT 2002®







XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX SUNDAY AUGUST 18, 2002 18:09:27 ET XXXXX

MSNBC FUTURE IN DOUBT

"The fall may be the make-or-break time for MSNBC," NEW YORK TIMES TV hotshot Bill Carter is preparing to write in Monday editions.

According to newsroom sources, Carter is set to warn how "future investment and promotion budgets for the channel" may be at risk during the coming months, as the all-news network continues to slump in the ratings, led by the nearly still-born DONAHUE.

The pressure is coming from the very top of the MSNBCNBCGE tree.

Earlier this year, at a meeting of NBC management, Jeffrey Immelt, the chairman of GENERAL ELECTRIC, specifically cited MSNBC as the area of NBC that most needed attention. "He gave the order," a senior NBC executive tells Carter, "and the order was, 'Fix it."'

As for the ailing DONAHUE, MSNBC prez Erik Sorenson tells Carter: "We're in the silly season. The news is so slow; it's been the summer of kidnappings. That plays more toward [CNN's] Connie [Chung]. Her show is cotton candy. It's all tabloid, all the time."

Sorenson said that come fall DONAHUE will start to take advantage of more hard news developments. "We'll have an election to cover and a war in Iraq," Sorenson said.

Beyond that, look for Phil Donahue to book more celebrities. "He's going to have Oprah on and Harrison Ford and George Clooney," Sorenson said. "I don't honestly expect to have an answer on this until November."

Developing...

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Filed By Matt Drudge
Reports are moved when circumstances warrant
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(c)DRUDGE REPORT 2002
Not for reproduction without permission of the author



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