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Young Turks chief mulls MSNBC moves

Uygur see opportunity in Olbermann exit, web video

MSNBC’s Cenk Uygur spoke to a digital-biz aud at NATPE about his success with podcast and web video network The Young Turks, pausing to field a question about changes to his relationship with the Peacock’s news cabler amid the departure of Keith Olbermann, for whom he regularly subbed.

“I don’t know what happened to Keith — that’s way above my pay grade,” Uygur told Variety. “What’s happened to me is that Lawrence O’Donnell is at 8 p.m. where Keith was, Ed Schultz is at 10 p.m., and I’m at 6 p.m. where Ed was, and we’ll see where that goes. Right now it looks really good. We’re hoping it turns into something permanent.”

Uygur touted the potential of web video to create a marketplace where individual creator brands superseded network brands, observing that internationally available websites like YouTube create content that everyone in the world can see, whereas many networks restrict both carriage and web access to their content to individual cable providers within a limited selection of countries.

He also said that he felt networks and politicians both would do well to listen to the demands of their audiences.

“Barack Obama got a question about legalizing pot near the beginning of his campaign and he was very dismissive about it. But it’s a big issue for people under 40,” Uygur said. “When we do stories about legalizing pot, our ratings spike, because we listen to our audience.”