SITUATION NORMAL, ALL @$%*ED UP

Propeller-necked pundit Tucker Carlson may have found a platform for his towel-snapping brand of conservatism on MSNBC’s The Situation, but industry insiders are predicting a dim future for the critically-lambasted show. Positioned dead last in prime-time cable news ratings, the political rant-fest has been a disappointment from day one, sources say—a sentiment echoed by New York Times’ TV critic Alessandra Stanley, who last month suggested MSNBC pull the plug on the crapulent show and “end the misery.”

According to a network source, the 36-year-old motormouth landed the job after promising MSNBC he could deliver raucous debates with high-profile guests like Jon Stewart—who famously called Carlson a “dick” on Crossfire and accused him of “hurting America”—but that the debates have yet to materialize.

“The incident with Jon Stewart made Tucker a household name, and MSNBC thought they could parlay that into a show that would appeal to 18-30 year old men,” says our source. “The problem is, most 18-30 year old men are watching baseball or Sports Center at 9 p.m., and Tucker has yet to have one interesting person on his show.” (Instead, he’s been reduced to relying on fellow MSNBC commentators like Monica Crowley and Dan Abrams to fill the gaps in his guest list, the source notes.)

But Carlson, who snagged a high six-figure salary and stock options from MSNBC after being booted from CNN, is still sitting pretty. “For some reason the higher-ups keep kissing his ass, even though the show was DOA the week it premiered,” the source gripes. A spokesman for Carlson’s show did not return calls for comment by press time.