MSNBC

Tune In: Original Cable Programming

No. of subscribers: 90 million

Network topper: Dan Abrams

Programming topper: Bill Wolff

Top originals: Countdown With Keith Olbermann, Hardball With Chris Matthews, Scarborough Country

Upcoming shows: Presidential debates April 24 and May 3.

The skinny: 2006 will be remembered as the year Keith Olbermann gave MSNBC its first breakout personality. He did it by taking a strong point of view against the Bush administration to the delight of liberals who love having their own pugnacious counterpoint to Fox’s Bill O’Reilly. MSNBC legal correspondent Dan Abrams replaced Rick Kaplan as network chief last summer. He killed Rita Cosby’s show in primetime and started running a two-hour “doc block” of taped programming weeknights at 10 p.m. Abrams has said MSNBC will be ahead of CNN within a year. At the moment, though, it’s closer to No. 4 Headline News than No. 2 CNN.

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