Originally created 06/14/06

MSNBC names Dan Abrams as its new G.M.



NEW YORK - NBC News legal correspondent Dan Abrams was put in charge of MSNBC Monday - and his first move was to take himself off the air there.

It was not immediately clear whether the legal-oriented "The Abrams Report" will continue with a different host or whether it will be replaced by another show.

As general manager of the cable channel, Abrams will report directly to NBC News executive Phil Griffin, another MSNBC veteran. The management team replaces Rick Kaplan, who left MSNBC last week.

Abrams, a Duke University graduate with a law degree from Columbia University, began peppering NBC News President Steve Capus with memos about how to improve MSNBC shortly after Capus took over his job about a year ago.

"His memos were thoughtful and insightful and provocative," Capus said. "There was one that was eight pages long. That was the one that made it clear to me that he was serious about an examination of the channel."

MSNBC has been mired in third place in the ratings behind Fox News Channel and CNN during virutally all of its 10-year history. Recently, pointed political shows such as "Countdown" with Keith Olbermann and "Hardball" with Chris Matthews have made some headway.

Those shows work because they are focused and viewers know what they're getting every day, Abrams said.

"Over the next few months you will hopefully see the network become a little more exciting, a little more vibrant and a little more irreverent," Abrams said.

Griffin spent nearly a decade at MSNBC in various jobs, most recently as vice president of prime-time programming. He was moved last year to help oversee the successful revival of the "Today" show.

Abrams joined MSNBC as a general assignment correspondent in 1997 and became a regular contributor to various NBC broadcasts. He began "The Abrams Report" in December 2001. Although he won't be on MSNBC, he will occasionally contribute on-air legal analysis to NBC News programs, the network said.

"Whatever he ends up doing, I have no doubt that Dan will bring a passion for the news to MSNBC's daily coverage," Capus said.