Chris Hayes kicked off "All In," his new 8 PM show on MSNBC, on Monday with an hour that looked a lot like his old show, "Up."
Hayes is an atypical 8 PM host, without the bluster or drama that accompanied such MSNBC predecessors as Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz. His elevation to the marquee slot was an audacious choice for the network, a bet that Hayes' quieter, starchier form of programming will click with viewers every weeknight.
The first show proved that Hayes is, at least at the outset, making few concessions to the new slot. There were no huge scoops, no big interviews, nothing to instantly crank up the anger from viewers. In what felt like an abridged version of his old show, he had two panel discussions--one about the Keystone pipeline and one about a cheating scandal in the Atlanta public schools--that ran for two segments each. These are not the kinds of hot-button issues that immediately arouse viewer passions, but part of Hayes' bet is that there is an audience that wants to think about them when they get home from work.
The two other segments looked the most like 8 PM shows of the past. There was a "Click 3" block that was a lot like "Worst Persons In The World" or the "Hardball Sideshow," with funny or outrageous things Hayes had seen on the Internet that day. And there was a pure commentary block, where the host lit into the NCAA's treatment of its athletes.
Hayes was visibly nervous at times, but clearly excited about "All In." Whatever the ultimate fate of his show, it is certainly one that marks a sharp break with the programs that have come before it.