The Mouth Is Out At CNBC

Some good news: Dylan Ratigan, the loud mouth host of CNBC’s “Fast Money” and co-host of “The Closing Bell”, is apparently out at CNBC.  According to The New York Times, Ratigan quit abruptly on Friday afternoon when contract negotiations broke down.  Melissa Lee hosted Fast Money on Friday and again today.  Ratigan’s contract expires March 31.

In my opinion, Ratigan is one of the most annoying hosts on CNBC.  The only one I dislike more that comes to mind is Mark Haines.  I even like Kudlow better than Ratigan – a lot better. 

That’s because he constantly monopolizes the conversation with his rants, talking over the expert guests who are the main reason I watch the channel.  Not only that, but he’s overbearing and boorish.

Ratigan’s biggest distinction, in my opinion, is the size of the gap between his self importance and his actual ability.  

His main explanation for the current financial crisis is the greed and corruption of corporate and political leaders: “The value system of capitalism has been corrupted by a small group of bankers, insurance executives and politicians.”  You can watch him on Fast Money last October ranting against greedy bankers as the cause of the whole mess here:

Apparently, that is supposed to be some great insight: “My real value-add is in the analysis, turning cocktail party into information to try to help viewers make more money”, Ratigan told Marketwatch’s Jon Friedman in June 2007.

Not surpisingly, several colleagues at CNBC told the New York Times on Friday that Ratigan was easy to anger and difficult to work with.

As an indication of Ratigan’s oversized ego, he has ambitions to host a late night show a la Conan, Leno and Letterman: “My dream job is late night TV.  If I could get an audition, I’d be in heaven…… I’m funny as hell and a great host,” Ratigan told Friedman in June 2007.  I can’t think of anything funny Ratigan has ever said on the air.

I’m happy about this because it is going to make Fast Money, which is a good show, that much more watchable.  CNBC Senior VP Jonathan Wald once called Ratigan “an acquired taste”, but it’s one I have yet to acquire after years of watching him.

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