Award-winning show left void still felt in cable programming
June 27, 2003
RenewAmerica staff report
Today marks the anniversary of Alan Keyes' final appearance on MSNBC's acclaimed "Alan Keyes is Making Sense."
The show did not return, after a run of 23 weeks. Only a few insiders were aware of what was happening.
One insider, Keyes' chief of staff, Mary Parker Lewis, dispelled any suggestion that the show was yanked for lack of ratings: "Alan's ratings were solid and competitive for a new, provocative show."
Lewis called the show "fresh, honest, provocative" analysis of cultural and political issues.
So did a steadily-growing viewership of hundreds of thousands of Americans, many of whom wrote the cable network as the show progressed to say that they thought the show was the best political program they had ever seen. Most assumed the show had found its niche in MSNBC's lineup, by virtue of its acknowledged quality and broad, eclectic support.
Thus, viewers were taken by surprise when they tuned in the Monday after the cancellation to find the show gone, and a discernable void in its place.
Most surprised was the state of Israel. Before the show was cancelled, the Israeli government had invited Alan Keyes to
Even with the show's cancellation, Israeli sponsors maintained their invitation and hosted Keyes in a four-day fact-finding tour of their country, so he could witness first-hand the conditions there
So what happened to the show
In the weeks following the show's demise, it didn't take viewers long to discover the travesty behind the cancellation of a promising new show whose ratings were on the up and whose clout was becoming considerable.
Keyes' main offense was that, during the five months that his show was on the air, he had made a point of consistently
Keyes also found himself, on one occasion, in the middle of a particularly caustic exchange between gay-rights advocates and an indignant guest who infuriated the pro-homosexuals
Concerning the anti-Israel opposition to Keyes, the show's transcripts reveal that Keyes was unusually fair and diplomatic in his approach to the Middle East conflict
Those were instructive shows. Americans learned facts and faces they would never have encountered anywhere else.
Many former viewers are still so incensed about the show's cancellation that, to this day, they refuse to watch MSNBC at all.
One of these days, we'll probably see Alan Keyes again regularly on TV. In the meantime, we'll just have to be content to read archived transcripts of his former show, as we diligently seek to make sense of the world around us.
Print this document