Talk Host Dropped by MSNBC Issues Tirade Against Network

Cenk Uygur (Photo: MSNBC)

Cenk Uygur (Photo: MSNBC)

Young Turk Cenk Uygur went on a rampage Wednesday after he learned MSNBC was dropping him as anchor of its 6-7 p.m. (5-6c) time slot.

Cenk (pronounced Jenk) is a Turkish-American radio personality who hosts an Internet and talk-radio show called “The Young Turks.” He’s apparently been holding down the 6-7 p.m. slot on MSNBC since January, but you can be forgiven for not being aware of this.

And anyway, he’s no longer anchoring the time period. He was informed by MSNBC management on Wednesday that they’ve decided to go in another direction in that hour. And they offered to keep him on as a contributor to various MSNBC talk shows (as he has been doing) and even threw in a raise in pay. All of this is according to the not-so-young Turk himself (he’s 41), who ranted about this turn of events on his radio show.

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Despite the seeming generosity of MSNBC’s offer inviting him to stick around, Uygur turned the network down because the bosses there were trying to tone him down, he said. In his Internet radio tirade against the NBC-owned cable channel, Uygur accused MSNBC President Phil Griffin of basically trying to manage his show (which, come to think of it, is Griffin’s job).

Uygur said Griffin tried to give him suggestions on how to improve his demeanor on the air and also who to book as guests. To Uygur, this was a no-no and he wouldn’t stand for it. So, he took to his radio show and made a speech blasting MSNBC. For its part, MSNBC used a New York Times interview to give its side of the story – a version of events that differed in detail from Uygur’s. You can read the Times story right here.

Whether or not Uygur was too “combative” or he waved his arms too much when he spoke (one of the things management complained about, he said), the real reason he’s being moved out, apparently, is to clear the time slot for MSNBC’s newest personality, the Rev. Al Sharpton, who seems poised to assume the position.

Yes, the Rev. Al Sharpton. According to various reports over the last few days, Sharpton scored decent ratings when he subbed for Uygur recently. MSNBC management noticed and now Uygur’s losing his slot.

The lesson here? Don’t go on vacation if you’re a radio or TV personality because you might not have a job when you get back.

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