MSNBC’s New Lean Forward-Less Graphics Package

If you haven’t yet noticed, MSNBC made a major change to their graphics package starting this past weekend. I first noticed it on Up with Steve Kornacki on Saturday 8/15. The revamped graphics package appears to be in use across all live programming on MSNBC. Gone is the show and network branding at the top of the screen. “Lean Forward” is not to be found anywhere. Did they officially retire that slogan? It appears there are no graphics at the top of the screen during shows with the exception of split-screen segments. Also notable, is that show branding is kept to a minimum, only seen for about a second in the lower right corner of the screen at the start of a show and when returning from commercials. That area then morphs into the new MSNBC logo which has returned to all capital letters (the logo had been all lowercase since 2009).

Melissa Harris-Perry fills in for Rachel Maddow on Monday's The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.

Melissa Harris-Perry fills in for Rachel Maddow on Monday’s The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.

The new graphics package is no doubt part of MSNBC’s rebranding as a hard news network, pivoting away from liberal commentary, at least during the daytime. Of course, I’m not sure MSNBC has much control over perception. I believe, regardless of their current efforts, MSNBC will continue to be known as the liberal cable news network, and so they should embrace it. And at least for now, pending other possible tweaks, this perception continues to be reinforced by the liberal opinion shows during primetime.



And, it should be noted, the new graphics package puts the MSNBC brand above shows and talent…

But, I do like the new minimalist graphics package as I’ve long loathed the over-the-top efforts by cable news networks to fill every corner of the screen with graphics just because they can. I just hope this is a simple graphics tweak, and not a harbinger for more corporate meddling that chips away at the MSNBC liberal brand.


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#cable news#graphics#Lean Forward#liberal#Melissa Harris-Perry#MSNBC#Rachel Maddow

  • darin29

    since Dems have won 5 of the 6 popular votes in presidential elections (except 2004 with the anti-gay, everybody- be-afraid stuff), wonder why the non-FOXies cannot have a network anymore? It is appalling what they did to Ed Shultz, moving him from 8pm to 5pm, then bumping him completely! There is no ‘left’ in America and very few liberals, even though conservatives use that term as a pejorative on line all the time. The right has gone further to the right, so if most of America would have been labeled between the two 40 yard lines (on a football field), 15 years ago, now the right has pulled the entire center of gravity way over to the 20 yard line on the right, and those who were center left then are barely in the middle now. They scream and cry about persecution and wanting ‘their Country’ back, but we cannot have one cable TV station (and that one gives conservative Republican Joe Scarborough 15 hours a week, to Rachel Maddow’s 5!)

    • I’m fine with the pivot to news and less commentary during the afternoon, but if MSNBC starts moving away from liberal commentary during primetime, that signals to me a network with no vision. MSNBC needs to embrace its liberal brand because they aren’t going to get the ratings in primetime any other way. For better or worse, you will never get high ratings with non-commentary news during primetime with the exception of big news events. Those who use the term “liberal” pejoratively will never see MSNBC as anything other than liberal. Hell, they see NBC News as liberal. Even those a bit more openminded will still think liberal when they think MSNBC, regardless of actual programming. So, why fight it? That’s the brand they built and it was successful up until about 2011 when ratings started to slip. I think it was a combination of factors. I think there was disillusionment among liberals with Republicans winning back the House (and later the Senate) combined with disappointment with the Obama presidency on several fronts (even with many big wins). I just think liberals took some time off from all the bullshit political conflict where it seemed nothing was getting accomplished. Then Keith Olbermann leaves MSNBC, and it seems that was the moment MSNBC started to lose its way. There was a glimmer of hope for liberals when Up with Chris Hayes launched later that year, but less than two years later MSNBC wrongly moved Hayes from that long-form programming to the quicker paced primetime, and the ratings in primetime continued to slip even further. While I’m not a big Ed Shultz fan, I do agree with you that MSNBC showed no respect for him. He actually pulled in strong ratings at 8pm. Personally, I’ll take Hayes over Shultz at 8pm, but from a ratings perspective, that was a stupid move.