Griffin named president of MSNBC

'Today' exec to oversee cable channel

NBC News has named Phil Griffin president of MSNBC. He’s had exec oversight of the cable channel since 2006.

Move represents a vote of confidence by Peacock news execs in the cabler, which has not had a president “in several years,” Griffin said.

Griffin was pulling double duty, overseeing NBC’s “Today” as well as MSNBC. His new job puts him at the helm of the cable net fulltime.

“MSNBC is becoming more and more important to the revenues and growth of NBC News,” Griffin said. “When something becomes bigger, it needs more attention.”

NBC said that MSNBC’s primetime ratings are up 54% in the first half of 2008.

“The opportunity for more growth is there,” Griffin continued. “We’ve got to have it, because we can now seriously challenge CNN for the No. 2 position.”

CNN drew 297,000 viewers in the coveted adults 25-54 demo in the second quarter, according to Nielsen. MSNBC had 267,000.

Griffin has worked at the Peacock for more than 25 years. He has been with MSNBC since its launch in July 1996. The channel celebrated its 12th birthday on Tuesday, Griffin said.

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