Dan Abrams was convinced Duke was the school for him on his first visit to the campus.

After graduating from Riverdale High School in New York City, he came to the University and served as vice president for student affairs for Duke Student Government.

Abrams, Trinity '88, said his four years at the University set the foundation for the career that was to follow.

"Duke, more than anything, helped teach me how to try to succeed in the world," he said. "It's not one class, or one professor, or one person that I met. It was just in general my experience of growing up."

While at Duke, Abrams also anchored occasional newscasts aired on Cable 13, gathering small groups of students to put together the programs.


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In 1988, Abrams graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in political science. He then attended Columbia Law School, graduated in 1992 and immediately became an anchor on the newly formed Court TV.

"When Court TV started when I graduated from law school, it was the perfect combination of the two things I was interested in," he said.

Nonetheless, Abrams left Court TV to join NBC as a general assignment correspondent for NBC News in 1997, covering everything from "hurricanes to plane crashes."

Soon enough, Abrams got the promotion he sought, becoming chief legal correspondent of NBC News, while he served as a fill-in on Geraldo Rivera's nighttime legal talk show on CNBC.

"I loved it," he said of his time filling in on Rivera's show. "I had a great time, and I thought to myself, 'that would be a great thing for me to do.'"

Finally in 2001, Abrams landed the daytime talk show he had been pushing for, with the announcement coming out six days before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City's twin towers.

As a result of the tragedy, Abrams said his show initially focused on the terrorism threat.

In recent years, however, it has evolved to emphasize broader legal issues.

Earlier this month, Abrams was promoted to general manager of MSNBC.

Though his first move in his new position was to take "The Abrams Report" off the air, he said his show was meant to discuss issues in an open manner. "My show was an opinion-based show," he explained. "I felt that by telling the viewers what my opinion was on certain stories, that they could more honestly assess the issues. A lot of people claim to be objective and straight down the middle on everything when, in fact, we all have opinions on things."

At a time when the media has been accused of providing biased coverage, Abrams said it is not shows like his that contribute to this image.

"The greater dangers of media bias are not the opinion-based cable news shows," he said. "The greater danger of media bias is those who claim to be objective, claim to not have an opinion and then let [their opinions] seep in."

In addition to his show, Abrams also managed a blog, wrote a monthly legal column in Men's Health magazine and has written articles featured in publications like the New York Times and The American Lawyer magazine. However, he said his focus now is on his new position.

"Life is about choices," he said. "I have to make big choices every day, but my primary job now is my new job, which is running MSNBC. I intend to make it more competitive, more energetic and more exciting."

Though Abrams said he does not have any specific plans on how to achieve his goals yet, he said viewers can "expect changes in the relatively near future."