James Wolcott on MSNBC’s decision to can Deborah Norville in favor of Tucker Carlson.
It’s a dumb decision. Tucker Carlson is a terrible hire not only because he’s a conservative yakker in a medium where there’s a superabundance of conservative yakkers, but because he’s a truly inept TV performer–flighty, stammering, laughing at his own lame quips and then repeating them as if repetition makes them even swiftier, waving his hands around as if trying to throw them away, slamming the table in phony indignation (“That’s outRAGEous!”), tucking his little smirk in at the end of each segment…he’s unbearable. He’s as amateurish now as when he started, just as Conan O’Brien hasn’t improved as an interviewer after ten years on the late shift. Carlson can’t carry that dinky show he’s doing on PBS now each week, never mind an hour a night. He’s another McEnroe waiting to happen.
I feel a pang seeing Deborah Norville ushered into the ether. She handled her show coolly and professionally on MSNBC, never upstaged her interviewees, and now she’s forced to clear out her minifridge and bansai plants to make room for a bobble-head doll in a bowtie.