Cenk Uygur says he left MSNBC because they don’t ‘challenge power’

By David Edwards
Thursday, July 21, 2011 7:33 EDT
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Less than six months after first appearing as an “interim host” on MSNBC, Cenk Uygur is explaining why he left the network.

For the past week, Rev. Al Sharpton had been hosting in Uygur’s 6 p.m. timeslot. MSNBC said that the netowrk “decided to make a change at 6 p.m.”

“It’s unfortunate that Cenk has declined our offer to have him develop and host a program for another time slot,” the MSNBC spokesperson added.

In an online video Wednesday, Uygur offered a few more details about his departure.

“I was called in a few weeks ago and was told I will not get the six o’clock spot,” he explained. “They said, ‘You had really good ratings. You did everything we asked you to do but we went in a different direction. But we want you to stay.’”

“They offered, honestly, a lot of money for that different role. I said no.”

Uygur recalled a viewer who told him, “Watching Cenk on The Young Turks is like watching a tiger in the wild. Seeing him on TV, is like watching that same tiger in a zoo.”

At one point, MSNBC management directed him to “tone it down” because “we are the establishment.”

“When your ratings are good and you don’t get the show, it leaves me to believe that might have been the reason,” Uygur said. “I didn’t want to work at a place that didn’t want me to do my kind of show, that wasn’t interested in my kind of show, didn’t want to challenge power.”

Watch this video from The Young Turks, broadcast July 20, 2011.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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