Flurry of headlines at MSNBC

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MSNBC will move into its new facilities at 30 Rockefeller Plaza with a change in management, its third in 15 months.

The news channel made several rumored changes official Monday with the news that GM Dan Abrams, who had replaced Rick Kaplan in June 2006, will give up that title and continue on the nightly primetime show he has been doing since July. Taking over for Abrams will be MSNBC alum Phil Griffin, an NBC News senior vp whose responsibilities also include "Today."

The channel also confirmed that Joe Scarborough, a longtime MSNBC primetime host who had taken over the spot in its morning lineup with the cancellation of "Imus in the Morning" in May, will keep the day job. "Morning Joe" will continue to air from 6-9 a.m.

Abrams' "Live With Dan Abrams" will keep its slot from 9-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday.

Griffin said that the changes wouldn't have come about if it weren't for the hole left by Don Imus' program that eventually spelled the move of Scarborough to the morning and opened up the 9 p.m. spot.

"If you had told either one of us five months ago that this was going to be the play, we would have laughed," Griffin said. Abrams was, in Griffin's words, "fairly reluctant" to take over the 9 p.m. spot this year, given his day job as MSNBC's GM. But Griffin said he has been impressed with Abrams' ratings after "Countdown With Keith Olbermann." Abrams said he wanted to help the network any way he could, even at the cost of the GM title.

"I loved the GM job, what a great experience this had been, and I wasn't particularly ready to give it up, but it just happened that this opportunity came up," Abrams said. He said he was just as excited Monday as he was when he became GM.

Griffin praised Abrams' efforts as GM, including posting ratings gains and getting the documentary block off the ground.

"I don't think MSNBC has been in as good a position in some time," Griffin said.

Monday's announcement marked the end of the management tenure of Abrams, the NBC News legal analyst and MSNBC host who presided over the channel's growth and rejiggered the lineup to include taped docus after 10 p.m. and the severing of ties with Rita Cosby. Abrams also will continue as the network's chief legal correspondent.

Abrams officially will cede management duties when the network leaves its Secaucus, N.J., studios next month. Griffin will be assisted by Shannon High-Bassalik, who will be in charge of MSNBC's live news programming.
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