Having played “The Hunger Games” many times, myself, I wasn’t surprised when Jim Treacher was ambivalent regarding news that S.E. Cupp would be co-hosting MSNBC’s new ensemble program called “The Cycle.” The trouble, of course, is that Cupp has been paired with (against?) three liberals on an overtly liberal network.
It’s hard enough to do that for a few minutes a few times a week as a guest. Just imagine doing it for an hour every day as a co-host.
There are a lot of ways this can go wrong. Do you go along to get along and be co-opted? Do you challenge everything — leave no shot unanswered — and come across as defensive? Can you pick your battles??
It ain’t easy. The View’s Elisabeth Hasselbeck is a prime example of a smart and attractive lady who — more often than not — seems to come across poorly on the show (granted, I’m not part of the show’s key demographic group).
Of course, The Cycle is being compared to Fox News’ The Five — because it’s an obvious, if inverse, replica. But there is one key difference. The token liberal on that show is Bob Beckel — a man whose career hit its peak (or was it nadir?) — in 1984.
Beckel can play the “heel” the way a pro wrestler would, collect a paycheck, and still sleep easy. It’s easier to do that when your career is mostly behind you. This is performance art for him.
But Cupp, of course, is a rising star — a fact that complicates things.
I will say that if anyone can pull this off, it would be Cupp. She’s tough and gutsy. And if you don’t believe me, just watch this clip of her taking down her now colleague Chris Matthews: