What's the Difference?

MSNBC and NBC are both major news networks in the United States, but they differ in their programming and target audience. NBC, which stands for National Broadcasting Company, is a traditional broadcast network that offers a wide range of programming, including news, sports, entertainment, and scripted shows. It has a broader audience and aims to appeal to a more general viewership. On the other hand, MSNBC, which stands for Microsoft and the National Broadcasting Company, is a cable news channel that primarily focuses on news and political commentary. It caters to a more politically engaged audience and often leans towards a liberal perspective. While both networks are part of the NBCUniversal family, they have distinct programming strategies and target different demographics.


Network TypeCable news channelBroadcast television network
OwnershipComcast CorporationComcast Corporation
Launch Year19961940
Target AudienceProgressive viewersGeneral audience
HeadquartersNew York City, New York, U.S.New York City, New York, U.S.
Parent CompanyNBCUniversalNBCUniversal
ProgrammingNews, opinion shows, documentariesNews, sports, entertainment
AvailabilityNationwide (United States)Nationwide (United States)

Further Detail


MSNBC and NBC are two prominent news networks that are part of the NBCUniversal family. While both networks share a common parent company, they have distinct attributes that set them apart. In this article, we will explore the key differences and similarities between MSNBC and NBC, examining their target audience, programming, journalistic approach, and overall reputation.

Target Audience

One of the primary differences between MSNBC and NBC lies in their target audience. NBC, as a broadcast network, aims to appeal to a broad demographic, including families, individuals of all ages, and diverse interests. It offers a range of programming, including news, entertainment, and sports, to cater to this wide audience.

On the other hand, MSNBC has a more specific target audience. It primarily focuses on progressive viewers who are interested in political news and analysis. MSNBC's programming often leans left and attracts viewers who align with liberal ideologies. This targeted approach allows MSNBC to delve deeper into political discussions and provide in-depth analysis for its core audience.


When it comes to programming, both MSNBC and NBC offer a variety of shows and content. NBC, being a broadcast network, covers a wide range of topics, including news, entertainment, sports, and reality TV. It features popular shows like "The Today Show," "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," and "Saturday Night Live." NBC's programming is designed to appeal to a broad audience and provide a mix of news and entertainment.

MSNBC, on the other hand, primarily focuses on news and political analysis. It features shows such as "The Rachel Maddow Show," "Morning Joe," and "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell." These programs offer in-depth discussions on current events, politics, and social issues. MSNBC's programming is tailored to its progressive audience, providing a platform for liberal voices and perspectives.

Journalistic Approach

While both MSNBC and NBC are committed to journalistic integrity, their approaches may differ due to their target audiences and programming focus. NBC, as a broadcast network, aims to provide balanced reporting and cover a wide range of topics. It adheres to traditional journalistic principles, striving for objectivity and presenting multiple perspectives on important issues.

MSNBC, being a cable news network with a specific target audience, often takes a more opinionated approach. While it still maintains journalistic standards, MSNBC's hosts and commentators may express their personal opinions and engage in more pointed analysis. This approach allows MSNBC to cater to its progressive viewership and provide a platform for robust political discussions.


Both MSNBC and NBC have established reputations in the media landscape, shaped by their programming and journalistic approach. NBC, as one of the oldest and most well-known broadcast networks, has a long-standing reputation for delivering news, entertainment, and sports to a broad audience. It has a history of producing high-quality content and has been a trusted source of information for many years.

MSNBC, on the other hand, has gained a reputation as a progressive news network. It is often associated with liberal viewpoints and has become a go-to source for viewers seeking left-leaning analysis and commentary. While some critics argue that MSNBC's programming can be biased, its dedicated audience appreciates its focus on progressive perspectives and its willingness to challenge the status quo.


In conclusion, MSNBC and NBC, despite sharing a parent company, have distinct attributes that differentiate them from each other. While NBC caters to a broad audience with a mix of news, entertainment, and sports, MSNBC focuses on a progressive viewership with its in-depth political analysis. Both networks maintain journalistic integrity, but MSNBC's opinionated approach sets it apart from NBC's more balanced reporting. Ultimately, the choice between MSNBC and NBC depends on the viewer's preferences, political leanings, and the type of programming they seek.

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