cable news news

What You Missed in the Premiere of Ronan Farrow’s Daytime MSNBC Show

Ronan Farrow attends the Esquire 80th anniversary and Esquire Network launch celebration at Highline Stages on September 17, 2013 in New York City.
Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

The ideal viewer for Ronan Farrow Daily, the brand-new show from the highly accomplished 26-year-old son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen (or Frank Sinatra?), is younger than its host and maybe stoned or at least hung-over on a dorm-room couch. That’s both because it’s on weekdays at 1 p.m., when most adults are busy, and by design: Today’s debut was aimed squarely at millennials in topic — weed, Lena Dunham, student debt — and form, with segments built around Twitter and holding a sign while taking a selfie. Here are the highs and lows, because we’re allowed to watch TV in the middle of the afternoon.

Amount of Time Farrow Spent Introducing Himself: 45 seconds

“Hello and welcome to Ronan Farrow Daily!” said the very handsome and charismatic new host. “I’m Ronan Farrow — I’ll be here daily.”

Time Until Farrow Made a Joke About Being Young: 20 seconds (“I grew up watching the greats of TV news: Murrow, Cronkite, Colbert.”)

Time Until Farrow Made a Joke About Being a Rookie: 31 seconds (“I’m also new to this. What’s going on here? Which camera do I look at? Who knows! But we’ll figure it out together.”)

Segment Topics, in Descending Order of Millennial-ness:

1. Dumpster diving for legal weed
2. Lena Dunham’s feminism
3. The student debt crisis
4. Minimum wage hikes
5. Kansas’s anti-gay and pro-spanking bills
6. Chuck Hagel announces military cuts
7. Obama hosts governors

Guests, in Descending Order of Millennial appeal:

1. The show’s production assistant Eric (“Thank you for taking me out of the dark control room,” he said.)
2. MSNBC host Alex Wagner
3. David Axelrod
4 (tied). Former RNC head Michael Steele, former Defense Secretary Bill Cohen, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, Delaware Governor Jack Markell

The PA.

Most Polite Talking Over a Guest:

Best Man Makeup: Bill Cohen and David Axelrod (tied)

Most “I Graduated College at 15 and Yale Law at 21” Word: tranche (“The first tranche of that money from Russia has now been delayed,” said Farrow, discussing Russian aide to Ukraine.)

Most “I Was a Rhodes Scholar and Special Adviser for the State Department” Line: “I was recently on the ground in Kenya …”

Best Metaphor: “If you look at the map of where the pipelines run, it’s like arteries going through a heart,” said Farrow on Russian gas interests in Ukraine.

Weirdest Cut to Commercial Maneuver:

First Hashtag: #RFDObama and #RFDPutin (tied, for the “Battle of the Day” segment, which asked, “Who’s been stronger on Ukraine?”)

First Selfie Request: “Call to Action” segment

Most Enticing Commercial Break Teaser:

Best Man on the Street Line: “I got love for the Dumpsters and the Dumpsters got love for me,” said the man showing off his Dumpster Love tattoo.

Least Timely Segment: Lena Dunham vs. Jezebel on Vogue airbrushing, centered around a tweet from mid-January. “The whole thing kinda backfired,” said Farrow, calling Dunham “the authentic gritty auteur behind HBO’s Girls, who is a frequently naked champion of all kinds of female beauty.”

Best Farrow Shade: “Jezebel, the feminist-leaning website”

Most Likely to Go Viral Moment: Asking Michael Steele and Alex Wagner about getting spanked. “Full disclosure: Were you spanked, Michael Steele?” asked Farrow. “Alex Wagner, were you spanked?”

“I feel like we don’t want the YouTube clip of ‘Were you spanked Alex Wagner?’” she replied. Too late:

Best Exchange With a New Colleague: “You’re the birthing team here,” said Farrow to Steele and Wagner, inaugural panel guests. “Thank you for that weird compliment,” said Wagner.

References to Frank Sinatra: None (bright blue eyes notwithstanding)

References to Woody Allen: None

What You Missed in Ronan Farrow’s New MSNBC Show