It really was only a matter of time. MSNBC announced on Wednesday that PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton would move from its current weekday slot at 6 PM ET to 8 AM on Sundays. The civil rights activist will begin his new Sunday gig on October 4th and his final weekday broadcast will air next Friday.
MSNBC president Phil Griffin has not shared his plans yet for a replacement for Sharpton’s time slot but has said they will be released soon. CNN’s Brian Stelter states that sources close to the network claim that a panel show will eventually take over that time slot. This would appear to make sense as it is already assumed that Meet the Press’s Chuck Todd will be filling in the 5 PM slot this fall, hosting a show much like his previous one, The Daily Rundown.
PolticsNation is the fourth ratings-hampered show that MSNBC has axed or moved this summer. A few weeks ago, The Ed Show, The Cycle and NOW with Alex Wagner were all canceled on the same day. While Wagner and Ari Melber were retained, the rest of the talent (Ed Schultz, Krystal Ball, Abby Huntsman and Toure) were all let go.
Sharpton, for his part, has said that he is glad for the move. In an interview with New York Daily News on Wednesday, he stated that he’s always wanted to be a Sunday morning host and a weekday political opinion show really wasn’t his forte.
“I’m very happy,” he said Wednesday. “First, I can reach a wider audience of people who don’t get home by 6 at night. Second, I can now get the A-list guests and newsmakers I want. And third, a Sunday morning host is what I always wanted to be.
“I never wanted to be a weeknight pundit. I wanted to be a Sunday morning newsmaker. I wanted to be Dr. Martin Luther King, not Larry King.”
In order to make room for Sharpton, UP with Steve Kornacki will be cut to one hour on Sunday. It will retain its two-hour format on Saturday morning.
While the network works on a permanent 6 PM program, MSNBC Live will cover that time period, as it has for the other programs that were cut earlier this summer. While 5 PM and 6 PM seem to be destined for Todd and a political discussion program, the previous two hours might remain live news coverage, with former NBC anchor Brian Williams potentially manning the desk at times.
Of course, MSNBC fans are probably wondering if the network will reach out to the prodigal son, Keith Olbermann. You’d think with all of these moves, and perhaps more on the horizon, that maybe they’d be positioning the bridge-burning and combative Olbermann to make a triumphant return, right? Well, outside of some whispers a few weeks ago when the program shifting began in earnest, it has been all quiet on that front.
Sorry, progressive news watchers. It just doesn’t look like you’ll get your dream of watching Olbermann comment nightly on a Donald Trump Presidential run.
Image via MSNBC