Sunday, October 3, 2010

Rick Sanchez -- Where Does He Go from Here?

Update: Since I wrote the original article, Rick Sanchez gave an interview to The Daily Beast where he said about his future prospects, "I’m having some very promising conversations with some people in the business to create a platform for me that I could revel in it. I would cherish that. I can’t put a timetable on it because things like this go through the conceptualization stage first before they actually get to fruition, and right now we’re somewhere in between conceptualization and discussions."

What this means to me, reading between the lines, is that Rick probably has no real offers or prospects for any sort of job in the public arena at this stage. However, if he does get another job, I think that it'll be through one of the scenarios I've outlined below.

Rick Sanchez, an award winning reporter for CNN, recently was fired over controversial comments that he made about comedian Jon Stewart and Jews. Does this mean that Rick Sanchez is finished in the media industry, or does he still have a future on television? In this article, I will examine some options that might still be open to Sanchez in the future.

1. Fox News: I view this possibility as kind of a 50/50 toss up whether he gets hired here or not. On the one hand, he already came out and publicly made fun of the left's media darling Jon Stewart, which should give him an angle as an anti-liberal, anti-establishment type. On the other hand, he's Hispanic, which may or may not be a problem on Fox news. Fox already employs Geraldo Rivera as a frequent guest commentator on the Bill O'Reilly show, and this should mean that the Hispanic background of Sanchez wouldn't be a problem. However, Rivera doesn't identify with his Hispanic background as strongly as Sanchez does, and that strong identification with Hispanics might make Sanchez less appealing to conservatives that identify with the anti-immigration movement. Still, out of all the choices available, this move seems the most likely and favorable for Sanchez.

2. Spanish language news channel: This would seem, on the surface, a significant step back for Sanchez. because he would be moving from a national news channel to one with a far smaller audience. However, there is a silver lining to this. The viewership of Spanish language news channels is only going to increase as the Hispanic population of the United States continues to grow. Sanchez could use this growth and his name recognition from CNN to position himself as the preeminent anchor for Spanish language news, a position that might otherwise be open to an anchor like Inez Sainz. Even without the fame of CNN, this position could prove to be far more lucrative and lasting than a position at Fox, especially considering how untapped the Hispanic market still is in the United States. Also, Sanchez would likely enjoy much more freedom of expression on a Hispanic news channel because controversial comments are far less likely to be picked up by the major three English news networks.

3. MSNBC: I see this possibility as somewhat of a very distant third. Sanchez is far enough in the middle that he would, on the surface, make a possible addition to the MSNBC. However, there are two problems here. First, MSNBC is in love with Jon Stewart, and adding anyone as an anchor that had badmouthed him in anyway would likely tick off the stations core viewers. Second, Sanchez is Hispanic and doesn't fit at all into MSNBC's core demographic of yuppies and ultra-liberals. With those two strikes against him, I would be shocked to see him added to MSNBC.
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