As MSNBC continues to tinker with its programming, a brand new show appears to be emerging from the woodwork. Karen Finney, a Democratic strategist that was a spokeswoman for the DNC, has been a substitute host at times for the network but will now be hosting a (as of now unnamed) weekend show.
MSNBC has made some pretty severe tinkers with its lineup as it continues to acquire more viewers. The shakeup started with the announcement of Ed Schultz leaving his 8pm weekend shows to the weekends and being replaced by Chris Hayes. Then came word that Steve Kornacki would replace Hayes and its assumed Ari Melber took over for his spot on The Cycle.
Now as Schultz prepares for his 5-to-7pm weekend show, he appears to have a lead in as the unnamed Finney program will air on weekends at 4-to-5pm.
We got some breaking news out of the MSNBC world concerning the morning show “Up With Chris Hayes”. Since Hayes is vacating the slot to replace Ed Schultz (who is taking his show to weekends at 5-to-7pm), speculation has centered around Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein or Grio editor Joy Reid to replace Hayes.
Both of those guesses though, turned out to be untrue, as MSNBC is prepared to announce that Salon writer and Cycle co-host Steve Kornacki is taking over the slot. Kornacki, who has emerged as one of the better minds on MSNBC, might be one of the channel’s more underrated voices.
It’s a small change-of-pace for the channel when you consider the permanently wired Hayes to the slightly more laidback Kornacki but it does seem to fit. Kornacki, whose often-eager look at elections has endeared him to many, will be a great host and it will be fun to see what he brings to the critically-acclaimed “Up” franchise.
Now, speculation goes on; who replaces Kornacki on the Cycle? Speculation apparently has centered on The Nation’s Ari Melber or Jonathan Capehart but a recent MSNBC report indicated that it would be Melber.
On Thursday’s telecast of his MSNBC program, The Ed Show, host Ed Schultz shocked his viewing audience by stating that the program would be moving to the 5-7pm block on weekends starting in April. Chris Hayes, host of the weekend morning show Up With Chris Hayes, will take over Schultz’s slot and his 8-10am slot remains open.
Still while Schultz is remaining with the network, his presence on the weekday lineup will be gone. Count me amongst those who are thrilled to see Chris Hayes in primetime but the Ed Show has a bit more of a sentimental place in my viewing lineup. I get back from dinner at around 7:45pm and when I would go to my dorm, the first thing I’d put on is MSNBC just in time for the show to begin.
I frequently type a mile a minute to get in a witty retort to see if I can get my tweet featured on television, a format that only the Ed Show really pushes. The interactivity of the program is by far its greatest strength and I do hope that it remains when it comes to weekend programming.
But while I did not always agree with Schultz’s opinions nor his presentation style, I appreciated his content. While Rachel Maddow is the number one source for foreign policy issues and Lawrence O’Donnell is the best editorialist on the channel; Schultz’s bread and butter was the working class and labor issues.
Schultz is not a journalist in the vein of Maddow, Hayes, O’Donnell or Martin Bashir but his coverage of the Wisconsin union debacle and the subsequent attempted recall of Governor Scott Walker was terrific and worthy of substantial praise. His recent revelation of Scott Prouty being the source of the infamous “47%” video is also an impressive landmark for The Ed Show.
MSNBC is my ideal channel and it’s great to know that the weekend lineup will get a primetime shot in the arm with The Ed Show as well as Hayes getting his own programming. I appreciate the “wonky” shows more as I’ve progressed through college and it’s exciting to see a new program debut.
But let’s give Mr. Schultz credit where credit was due because he definitely deserves it.
DISCLAIMER: UPDATE FROM MARCH 13TH AT BOTTOM
In a report praising MSNBC’s Election Night coverage, New York Times writer Brian Stetler dropped a little news nugget towards the bottom of the post.
Stetler, citing anonymous MSNBC sources, suggested that Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein could replace Ed Schultz at the 8pm hour (or possibly get his own weekend show). Schultz, whose “THE ED SHOW” has been a network staple since 2009 was part of the channel’s election night coverage and I remind you that this is only a possibility.
Several MSNBC employees, who spoke about programming plans on the condition of anonymity, said the most likely candidate for a new show was the Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein, a frequent substitute for Ms. Maddow. Mr. Klein may start with a weekend time slot, but these people said the 8 p.m. weekday time slot held by Mr. Schultz was also a possibility.
No word from Schultz or Klein yet.
Thought I’d just add a bit more analysis now that the story has sort of been circulating around the internet for the past couple hours. It does appear somewhat unlikely that Ezra Klein, who has only guest-hosted for Rachel Maddow a few times, would be thrown to the wolves of primetime right away. I would imagine seeing him on the weekend AMs or perhaps at 7:00pm in lieu of Chris Matthews’s repeat.
But Ed Schultz is key to MSNBC. Klein, Chris Hayes, Melissa Harris-Perry and even Maddow represent the “wonk”/”nerd” demographic. Matthews is 66 and Lawrence O’Donnell is on at 10:00pm so there is a void of “blue-collar” liberalism shows on MSNBC during early primetime hours. Schultz may not be the smoothest or most sophisticated of news reporters but he does target a completely different demographic than the other hosts. It’d be unwise to drop Schultz unless Schultz either wants out or has some rift with management.
EDIT: 9:06PM (3/13/13)
Been a while since I updated this but Ed Schultz announced that he will be on the weekends at 5-7pm starting in April, presumably freeing up the 8pm hour on weeknights. Sounds like the ideal opportunity for Ezra Klein to finally get his own show, smack dab between Hardball and Rachel Maddow. Very interesting hear as MSNBC continues to move into a wonkish direction to combat Fox News.
Nothing confirmed yet but seems like the earlier report was close to accurate.
EDIT: 10:27AM (3/14/13)
Here’s something that slightly shocks me, but a report is coming out that it’s not Klein but Chris Hayes (host of the weekend show Up With Chris Hayes) will replace Schultz at 8pm. Interesting choice considering Hayes is very similar to Rachel Maddow but a great choice nonetheless. I would have to assume Klein would get Hayes’s old weekend timeslot.