Instead of Duke, NBC led with in-house business. Rehema Ellis (no link) read portions of an announcement by NBC News that its cable channel MSNBC will no longer simulcast Don Imus' morning radio show following his insults about those Rutgers hoopsters. It was such late-breaking news that even the insiders at NBC were unable to prepare a proper taped package. Ellis quoted the explanation in her live stand-up: "We are the guardians of the good name of NBC News, each and every one of us. There has been a trust placed in us. We must honor and respect this trust."
The cable TV cancellation followed a hemorrhage of support by advertisers, not only from Imus in the Morning but from MSNBC in general. NBC's Ellis ticked off the defectors: General Motors, Procter & Gamble, American Express, Staples. CBS' Anthony Mason said his network's radio syndicators had not pulled the plug yet, "still sticking to this two-week suspension" even though one board member has publicly called for outright cancellation.
ABC's Dan Harris (subscription required) saw Imus being "hit squarely in the wallet." Harris cited the conventional wisdom that Imus cannot survive even on radio without corporate sponsors and big-name guests. His is one of the "few shows on commercial radio that interviews politicians and journalists, including those from ABC News." Presidential candidate Barack Obama, for example, had appeared with Imus to pitch a book but now wants him off the air for feeding into "some of the worst stereotypes."
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