Mad Money 4.0
Meet Mad Money 4.0. If you caught the show on Monday or Tuesday night, you might have noticed that we're doing things differently, or to be more accurate, we're doing different things.
This is our most major content overhaul, at least since April of 2006 when Regina Gilgan took over as executive producer and let us--much more Jim than me--run wild, and potentially the biggest change yet. We've been on the air for just over three years and four months, and now that Mad Money's reached year four we've got a pretty good sense of what you ladies and gentlemen in the audience want and what you need.
So what should you expect to be different? We're changing the focus, not the format. And we're not messing with Jim's main goals: to be as funny as possible so you'll be willing to listen to him educate you about the market and help you try and make money in stocks. In the past we would mostly focus on individual stocks, both as picks and as examples of a broader lesson or theme.
Now we're not backing away from stock picking, not the least because it's what Jim Cramer was put on this earth to do, but we've come to the conclusion that giving you stocks to research and potentially buy is less important than explaining what's really happening in the market and demystifying its inner workings, something many people find impenetrable without a little help.
I think spending more time on stories about the state of the market as understood by Jim Cramer and relatively less on stock recommendations makes for a much better show, because it's both more useful and more interesting. So from now on more and more of the show will be devoted to explaining the logic behind seemingly senseless moves and solving what are basically mysteries--Jim Cramer, the Dr. House of stocks.
Like the one Jim solved Tuesday night for you: why didn't the market crash and burn like everyone was expecting it would on Monday night, after disappointing results from Apple, American Express, Texas Instruments, and Sandisk. The fear was palpable, there was hardly a bullish peep out of anyone, and then we went and had a great day yesterday--if you don't know why that happened, then no amount of stock recommendations, no matter how right they are, can help you.
What we've realized in year four is that the most important, most valuable thing Jim can do for you is make sense out of the chaos of the market, giving you an understanding of what factors matter at any given moment and what you should ignore. We've shifted focus from individual stocks to the context in which those stocks move every day. Never fear, we'll still be recommending plenty of stocks, just not as many as in the past, so you'll get fewer picks from the show, but a much better idea of what to do with them.
At least, that's the plan. And since you now know what we're trying to do, if we go off track or we backslide you'll be able to hold our feet to the fire.
Cliff Mason is the Senior Writer of CNBC's Mad Money w/Jim Cramer, and has been that program's primary writer, in cooperation with and under the supervision of Jim Cramer, since he began at CNBC as an intern during the summer of 2005. Mason was the author of a column at TheStreet.com during 2007, which he describes as "hilarious, if short-lived." He graduated from Harvard College in 2007. It was at Harvard that Mason learned to multi-task, mastering the art of seeming to pay attention to professors while writing scripts for Mad Money. Mason has co-written two books with Jim Cramer: Jim Cramer's Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich and Stay Mad For Life: Get Rich, Stay Rich (Make Your Kids Even Richer). He is 100% responsible for any parts of either book that you did not like.
Mason has also had a fruitful relationship with Jim Cramer as his nephew for the last 23 years and will hopefully continue to hold that position for many more as long as he doesn't do anything to get himself kicked out of the family.
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