Yes, here it is – “All In with Chris Hayes!” I have been a fan of his week-end show, and the new prime-time 8 pm week-day show is just as interesting and thought-provoking as his week-end show — and different from anything else in the week-night “news and politics” lineup. One of the terrific things about the April 1 debut is that there was none of the annoying time-consuming “preview” snippets of what is coming up later in the show! Rachel Maddow does this in a more interesting and fun way than most, but Chris (one of Rachel’s protégées) has (so far) dispensed with the mundane preview of what is coming up in the show — other than a very brief “coming next” statement a couple of times, and his typical “hold that thought – I want to talk more about that right after this break” cue.
Instead of the typical line-up of “hot topics” his format for the week-end show is carrying over to prime time. Last night he spent dedicated time on two topics — the Keystone pipeline, and the Atlanta school scandal. He brought in his typical panel of folks to talk about these issues – 3 or 4 people we do not usually see on TV but who in fact are experts close to the issue, and who bring very diverse views to the topic. Chris asks hard questions, but also makes sure that we in the audience understand the nuances of the issue. His panels always include women and men, people of color, young folks, seasoned elders, a few elected officials but mostly everyday folks doing really important work in the world who almost never get seen or heard in the news media.
I also like the very upbeat, energetic tone that Chris brings. Unlike the very stilted, and sometimes scripted week-end political talk shows like “meet the press” that are geared to bringing different points of view to the audience, “All In” is not adversarial and there is no hostility. The members of the panel have a lively, but congenial discussion of issues. When they disagree with one another, they acknowledge the differences in their perspective, but Chris always facilitates a conversation that deepens understanding of the issues, not an adversarial competition for ideas.
His brief #click3 segment added a really fun and interesting dimension to the show that illustrates the unusual and very interesting tone of the show. Last night he featured the remarkable scientist Yvonne Brill and the very inappropriate obituary published in the NYT, “Kid Socrates,” a boy who conceptualizes multiple universes, and finally information about how to send in your suggestion for the day’s most awesome thing on the internet .. tweet your suggestion with the hashtag #click3
I highly recommend this show. If you do not get MSNBC on TV, watch the show online (commercial free – almost!) You can read a review of the April 1 debut hour here. As the reviews I have seen all indicate, only time will tell if this new approach to prime-time will gain traction. But in my view, it is a very welcome shift from the typical news hour, and a most welcome change from the week-end political talk shows. Of course “All In” is not a substitute for the other excellent shows out there, but it adds a dimension of depth and exploration of tough political and social challenges that until now have been missing.