Originally created 07/30/05

MSNBC shifts Carlson out of prime-time for Cosby



NEW YORK - MSNBC will shift Tucker Carlson's low-rated talk show out of prime-time in much of the country to 11 p.m., with ex-Fox News Channel anchor Rita Cosby filling his time slot.

Since its debut June 13, the bow-tied conservative's show has averaged 201,000 viewers, 25 percent fewer than its time-slot predecessor, "The Abrams Report," had in May, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Carlson's was the first new prime-time show developed since Rick Kaplan took over as MSNBC president last year. Kaplan said Friday the switch wasn't a demotion, that he had considered Carlson's program for 11 p.m. all along, but that "it would have been a mess" if he had said that publicly from the beginning.

He conceded MSNBC might have switched plans if "The Situation with Tucker Carlson" had caught fire in the ratings.

"I couldn't be more psyched," said Carlson, who said he had unsuccessfully pushed CNN for an 11 p.m. show when he worked there.

Carlson's program will air live at an hour that its competitors show reruns.

Cosby, who scored an exclusive interview with Jermaine and Tito Jackson on her first day at MSNBC last month, will begin "Rita Cosby: Live and Direct" Aug. 8.