Z on TV Critic David Zurawik writes about the business and culture of TV

Greta Van Susteren to MSNBC; Tucker Carlson gets Megyn Kelly's time slot on Fox

Martha MacCallum will host a show focusing on Trump presidency, among other moves in cable news.

It was musical chairs Thursday in the world of cable news with Greta Van Susteren joining MSNBC, while Martha MacCallum got a nighttime show and Tucker Carlson took over Megyn Kelly's time period on Fox.

I think the hiring of Van Susteren, most recently of Fox News, is a smart one that suggests MSNBC really is committed to being a less politically partisan channel.

She has the hat trick now — having been on all three major cable news channels. And there is a reason for that: Van Susteren is not an ideologue. She's more a lawyer than a journalist, but her commitment to facts and truth is superior to that of most people who call themselves journalists on cable TV. She is also very hard working. So, good for her and MSNBC.

I have been watching Carlson's Fox show on a fairly regular basis since it launched in November. I like its energy and bite.

But in recent weeks, it has started to settle in some patterns that are not so great. One of the worst involves the producers inviting college students on for Carlson to devour in debates about their liberal politics.

I like the fact that Carlson is a fierce debater, but beating up on college kids is bully boy stuff. 

Carlson also beats up on self-important, ideologically rigid professors and administrators, who seem totally out of it in understanding how poorly they come off on TV.

I'm fine with that. They're adults. And there's an endless supply of them on the far left. Have at 'em, Tucker. But, really, leave the college kids alone.

I think Carlson could have a long-running show if he does not give into his worst impulses. But if he goes mean, Fox is going to have a lineup of angry, angrier and angriest, running from Bill O'Reilly to Carlson and Sean Hannity.

Maybe that's a winning lineup in hell. But I think I'll take a pass.

MacCallum's Fox show, which debuts Jan. 16, will be titled "The First 100 Days."

“Based in New York, the show will chronicle the beginning of the new administration and run through President-elect Trump’s first 100 days in office,” a statement from the channel said.

She will co-anchor Fox's inauguration coverage with Bret Baier on Jan. 20.

Copyright © 2017, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad