Politics

Uygur: ‘Young Turks’ webcast getting ‘good if not better’ numbers than MSNBC’s top show

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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MSNBC announced Wednesday that Cenk Uygur will not return to host the 6 p.m. hour, which was left vacant earlier this year after Ed Schultz transitioned from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

During a conference call Thursday, Uygur addressed the circumstances surrounding that announcement. And although he explained his numbers had been steadily improving, he acknowledged the differences he had with management.

He also touted his webcast, “The Young Turks,” and said his numbers on the web were better overall than MSNBC’s most watched show.

“Well, I will be continuing with ‘The Young Turks,’ which is doing fantastic,” Uygur said. “Right now, the last full month of numbers we got on YouTube was 28 million views that month. By the end of the month, we had over a million views a day, which is just as good if not better than the top show on MSNBC, for example. We are up to half-a-billion views on YouTube.”

Uygur added he wanted to dominate media and saw new media, not “old media” or TV as the best way to accomplish that goal.

“I guess what bothers me since I’m mainly a new media guy is when old media people say, ‘Well, explain what your plan is to get on TV,’” Uygur said. “[M]y next plan is to dominate media from new media, not old media. There’s nothing wrong with TV and it’s not like I would turn — it depends on the situation.

“You get a good offer, you take it,” he said. “But new media is the real deal and we had half-a-billion views. Those are real views. Those are real dollars based on the ads. So, that’s the real future and I’m incredibly excited about it.” (TheDC’s Jamie Weinstein: On MSNBC, the ‘N’ isn’t for ‘news’)

Earlier this year, Keith Olbermann departed MSNBC under similar circumstances as Uygur. That led some to suggest the transition of NBC Universal’s ownership from General Electric to Comcast might have played a role. However, Uygur said he didn’t see that as a factor in his departure.

“Not to my knowledge, no,” Uygur said. “Look, I’m speaking to only things that I know. I don’t want to do any speculation. For example, in the conversation with Phil [Griffin], he said, ‘People in Washington.’ He didn’t say the White House. He didn’t make any indication like that. You got to be fair and say what it is. That suggests to me political pressure but I don’t know where it comes from. And in terms of Comcast, he never mentioned Comcast. That never came up. Did I see a difference? No, look there’s a corporate culture either way you slice it. And so, if you’re going to do a story on GE or Comcast, people are going to worry. But, to MSNBC’s credit, they never stopped me from doing a story on that. I did, I would say, at least three on GE not paying taxes and one on Comcast and net neutrality, but I never heard back on that. So that was not an issue as far as I know.”

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