Toward the tail end of his show last night, MSNBC host Ed Schultz announced that his primetime program will be ending and that starting next month he will be hosting a two-hour program on Saturday and Sunday nights.
And in the big finish tonight, a big personal and professional announcement. MSNBC will be expanding its weekend programming and this opens a big opportunity for ‘The Ed Show’ and my brand. I will be leaving this time slot at 8 PM ET and moving to Saturday and Sunday from 5 to 7 PM.
He also expressed his appreciation to MSNBC to allowing him the opportunity to “give voice to the voiceless.”
Schultz’s departure from primetime isn’t a complete surprise. The New York Times’ Brian Stelter reported in November that MSNBC was looking to replace Schultz to make room for Ezra Klein, though Schultz vehemently denied it at the time.
MSNBC president Phil Griffin issued a statement saying that he was “thrilled for Ed and happy to be expanding our weekend programming,” and that he was “looking forward to having Ed’s powerful voice on our network for a long time.”
While Schultz was trying to put a positive spin on the change, the truth is that moving to weekends on MSNBC is comparable to being sent to Siberia, given how few people watch the network on Saturday and Sunday.
Schultz’s show was the lowest rated primetime program on MSNBC, just edging out CNN’s Anderson Cooper in the A25-54 demographic. This, more likely, is what precipitated the switch rather than the opportunity to move to weekends as Schultz described.
MSNBC is expected to announce Schultz’s replacement today.
UPDATE: MSNBC announced that Chris Hayes will take over for Schultz starting April 1.