MSNBC Changing Name to NBC News

Matt Drudge has the following:


Interestingly, when I was in the green room of MSNBC’s Washington bureau on Thursday I noted a poster on the wall for “NBC News Channel.” I was wondering what the deal was.

The shorter name is indeed more streamlined, reflecting the natural synergy with NBC News. One wonders why Microsoft would drop their name from the endeavor. For that matter, one wonders about the fate of CNBC, NBC’s other cable news channel.

Update: The Raw Story explains the background:

Microsoft set to quit MSNBC news channel

The Microsoft corporation—which at one time had both a news television channel and a leading online newsmagazine—is ready to divorce NBC News and depart MSNBC, RAW STORY has learned.

MSNBC is said to roughly break even; it has never been terribly profitable. Microsoft quit its online ‘zine, Slate, in December, selling the venerable but also underperforming site to the Washington Post Company. The cable news and Internet venture between Microsoft Corp. and the NBC network, didn’t achive profitability until the second quarter of 2001. It was launched in July 1996, shortly after Fox News Channel, which far exceeded profitability expectations, and left MSNBC a distant third to Fox and CNN.

The irreverent Drudge Report asserts that the channel’s revised name will be the NBC News Channel.

The New York Post reported in March that talks centered around NBC taking sole control of the news company, with Microsoft having rights to use some of its online news content.

This version of events makes much more sense. It’s not a rebranding effort but the departure of the “MS” part of “MSNBC.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. With CNBC the brand means business and investment news. When you think of watching what’s happending on Wall Street you turn on CNBC. That’s pretty much burned into the minds of those interested in that. I see no reason to change that name.

  2. Chris McCaw says:

    And don’t forget CNBC World which is a 24-hour world’s markets news channel. Given the truly anemic viewership of CNBC primetime (excluding MSNBC, soon to be NBC News Channel), I don’t know why they just don’t cut their losses when it comes to original programming on CNBC and just log into CNBC World starting at 7PM (Eastern). Repeats of ‘The Apprentice’, ‘The Office’ (U.S. version) and ‘The Contender’ seems like misguided synergy.

  3. herb says:

    Does this mean that we can no longer say “PMSNBC”

  4. Now it will be NNC, the Mirror version of CNN.

    I wonder if all the anchors will therefore be required to grow goatees?

  5. Bachbone says:

    Isn’t this rather like Kentucky Fried Chicken changing its name to KFC after consumers became keenly aware that too many fried foods are not good for us? The product remains the same, but you can fool some of the people some of the time.

  6. McGehee says:

    “NBC News Channel”?

    What’s that middle word doing in there?

  7. jim Hawthorne says:

    I’ve watched MSNBC since the first day and was especially impressed then when a “new” newstalent (Soledad O’Brian) made her debut. The only problem is that the web is controlled by the news division and, consequently is very dull!! Tip –> let a showbiz person run the net and watch it give FOX a real challenge. CNN? Since Ted Turner peddled it to Viacom, the “bottom line” put itself in control and became also very dull and, I’ll wager is run by newspeople and, again is a “who cares” offering. Come on people, it’s showbiz NOT newsbiz — just take a look at FOX, study it and you’ll KNOW what I mean!!

  8. Chris says:

    NBC News Channel, new name, same format??

    MSNBC really does not report any news, I have stopped watching that channel because all it shows are lame documentary/history shows with the occassional news coverage. I gert more bang for the buck watching the weather channel. I hope with the name change, they do a format change and really report the news.

    Maybe they should just make it “NBC Daily News Channel” at least and show Daily show reruns all day, then it will be interesting… or “NBC Naked News Channel” so we can have something interesting to look at while getting the news… it is cable right?

    I would rather get my news from CNN and FOX.