The last twelve months have seen a huge changeover of familiar faces in the television landscape.
CNN lost longtime 9pm host Larry King.
MSNBC lost Keith Olbermann.
The Today Show lost Meredith Veira.
CBS News lost Katie Couric.
And Fox News lost ratings powerhouse Glenn Beck.
The dust from all this change is still settling. But one thing is clear, the television landscape will not look the same going forward.
So who is waiting in the wings. Who will step up and become the next generation of familiar faces we tune into (download onto our tablet?).
Some of these faces may already be familiar, in which case expect to see a great deal more of them, and some may not yet have made an impression. Yet.
A fill-in that did such a good job the higher ups went out of their way to tell the NYT how much they loved her.
Regular viewers of Maddow's who know Harris-Parry from her regular guest appearances will not be surprised by this -- she is a compelling speaker and brings a level of conversation, particularly to race issues, that one is not accustomed to seeing on cable.
MSNBC says they're not ready to give her her own show...yet.
Even though Willie Geist is still probably best known for his spot at the Morning Joe table he actually already has his own show.
Way Too Early.
And literally it is very early. Geist has also filled in for Chuck Todd's political show at 9am and has the sort of looks and easygoing manner that makes one wonder if NBC's the Today show doesn't have a close eye on him as a possible Lauer replacement down the line.
Chris Hayes just got his own show on MSNBC. Weekend mornings. Not exactly prime time but an interesting foothold for the former (and youngest!) editor of the Nation who was a previously a frequent Maddow fill-in.
However one imagines that as we gear up to head into an election year MSNBC is giving is keen to give Hayes a chance to get is cable legs before shifting him to a primer time spot.
CNN hasn't had a terrific amount of success in the last few years launching shows from scratch (cf. In The Arena, Campbell Brown) but one gets the sense Erin Burnett may be the person to break that mould.
Burnett comes to the network after a hugely successful years-long stint at CNBC and during a time when the markets and the economy have become front page, mainstream, top story news.
Based on her recent appearances while the network readies her new show the consensus is CNN can't get her on the air quickly enough.
It's true Elisabeth Hasselbeck's already got a good gig, but one suspect Hasslebeck has got a long career ahead of her that could go a number of ways.
She already does a regular segment on Good Morning America, so a permanent host role there doesn't seem like much of a stretch.
But she's also one of the few people on mainstream television who is unapologetically Conservative, meaning it's also not a stretch to envision her going a similar route to Joy Behar and making the leap to her own cable news show.
You will be seeing a lot more of Megyn Kelly.
Kelly just returned to her regular afternoon block on Fox News after taking four months off for maternity leave. Whether she stays there remains to be seen. With Glenn Beck's departure at 5pm the whole afternoon line-up may be up for a shuffle.
Regardless, Fox is banking on Kelly's charm and smarts (and edge!) to get them through the next election season and beyond.
Cenk Uygur had a reasonably good thing going at MSNBC. He took over the 6pm spot in the aftermath of Keith Olbermann's departure and did a reasonably good job.
Not good enough, apparently, for MSNBC to keep him there but good enough that they wanted to work with him to develop a different show for him in a different time slot. Instead, Uygur decided to pull a scorched-earth-Olbermann and departed the network in a blaze of accusations that they were trying to muzzle him.
Current money seems to suggest that he will land at Current TV. Regardless, considering Uygur came up by his own boot straps, so to speak, on the success of the Young Turks radio show he launched for himself, one suspects we probably haven't seen the last of him.
I know, I know.
Eliot Spitzer's failed CNN show does not bode well for his cable future (not to mention his political past). But the cancelling of In the Arena arguably had less to do with Spitzer (who brought a impressively informed, sharp eye to news events....actual news events, not blogs posts redone for cable TV) than CNN's apparent ability to make non-partisan shows work.
With the markets and the debt crisis dominating headlines (with no signs of letting up) on wonder if Spitzer (and not Al Sharpton as rumoured) might be MSNBC's solution to their 6pm hour.
Don Lemon could be CNN's new secret weapon...if only they were able to uncover it.
Lemon has received some well-publicised attention of late from the likes of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and for good reason. He's smart, good-looking, and seemingly unable to play the silly side cable news game. That last bit is key. Everyone loves a straight-talker.
Anderson Cooper's 10 pm spot at CNN is currently a rerun of his new show at 8pm, which seems like both a safe move and wasted opportunity. CNN could do far worse than give Lemon at stab at that spot.
Yes, Rachel Maddow is already established as one of the biggest hosts on cable.
She is MSNBC's most popular anchor, and arguably better at what she does that anybody else on TV (I realise there is a lot of arguably to be done with that statement, but still).
So perhaps she's less part of the next generation than the bridge to it. At some point between now and the next election viewers are going to tire of the infighting that is currently cable news' bread and butter.
When they do they can look to Maddow, who has already established herself as someone who can have a intelligent (and blistering!) conversation with someone on the opposite side of the political spectrum without raising her voice or insulting them.
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