Grodin gets weekly talker on MSNBC

Sister station picks up show after CNBC pulls plug

NEW YORK — Charles Grodin is not a man to hold a grudge.

Despite CNBC canceling his nightly talk show on June 8, Grodin has no qualms about launching a show on CNBC’s sister cable web MSNBC.

“Charles Grodin,” basically a carbon copy of the former actor’s CNBC show, will premiere on MSNBC on Saturday 8 p.m.-9 p.m. (ET).

“I was very surprised when I was canceled, but there was never any kind of negative feelings,” said Grodin. “It’s not like people are racing to get me.”

Grodin’s new MSNBC show is only guaranteed to be on the air through January. That’s when his previous contract with CNBC runs out. His CNBC contract pays him about $600,000 annually.

Grodin acknowledged that if MSNBC wants to keep his show on the network after January, he’ll be in for a pay cut. For CNBC, he did four shows a week. His MSNBC gig only calls for him to tape one show a week.

When CNBC canned his show, Grodin said, people close to him said NBC did not like his politics.

“I heard it has something to do with NBC executives being angry about my attacking the capitalist system,” said Grodin. “I asked (Ed Scanlon, NBC’s executive VP, employee relations) if it was about politics. He explained that it had nothing to do with politics. It was to save money.”

MSNBC last week named a new general manager, Erik Sorenson, but Grodin said he arranged his comeback with NBC News president Andrew Lack.

Grodin said he likes the idea of doing only one show a week because he’ll get to spend more time with his family.

Grodin also put a positive spin on going to a network with less distribution. CNBC has 65 million subscribers compared with MSNBC’s 42 million. He said that NBC promotes MSNBC — which NBC owns in a joint venture with Microsoft — much more heavily on its broadcast network than it does CNBC.

On CNBC, Grodin’s show became known for his lengthy opening monologue — which bored some viewers yet delighted others — during which he tackled serious social issues. Grodin said he’ll keep the monologue for his MSNBC show, but he will try to insert more humor.

Though he hopes the new show will contain more lighter moments, Grodin said his main motivation for doing the show was to make sure serious issues have a forum on television.

“For people that are really poor and don’t have a voice, it’s important for somebody to be doing this on TV,” Grodin said. “It’s important for someone to be asking why kids are going to sleep hungry.”