NBC News said late Wednesday that it is permanently dropping the simulcast of the Imus in the Morning radio program from MSNBC, effective immediately.
Procter & Gamble and other major advertisers pulled their spots. The Rev. Jesse Jackson and other leaders protested. But NBC News executives insisted Wednesday night that it was reaction from their own employees that prompted them to permanently cancel the simulcast.
The move came just two days after NBC News and CBS Radio said they would only suspend Don Imus and his radio program for two weeks, effective April 16, following a racial comment he made last week about the Rutgers University women’s-basketball team.
“Within this organization, this had touched a nerve. The comment that came through, time and time again was, ‘When is enough going to be enough?’ This was the only action we could take,” NBC News president Steve Capus said on MSNBC Wednesday night.
MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann said he was one of the NBC employees who asked management to kill the show, but he agreed to not discuss his views publicly until after NBC axed the show.
Passionate, moving comments made during a press conference held Tuesday by the young women on the Rutgers basketball team, whom Imus called “nappy-headed hos” April 4, were also a factor in NBC’s decision to can the program, Capus said.
Imus, whose program is distributed nationwide by Viacom’s CBS Radio, is still scheduled to be suspended from his radio program for two weeks beginning April 16.
MSNBC plans to replace Imus in the interim with regular news programming from 5:30 a.m.-10 a.m.
NBC News once again apologized to the Rutgers University women’s-basketball team Wednesday. “We apologize to the women of the Rutgers basketball team and to our viewers. We deeply regret the pain this incident has caused,” NBC said in a prepared statement.