Ed Schultz, the boisterous and bombastic MSNBC host, has parted with his lucrative 8pm time slot on the left-leaning networks. Instead, his show will now air on weekends (two hours on both Saturday and Sunday).
Schultz announced the move on his Wednesday show, saying he “volunteered.” But even the Huffington Post isn’t buying it: “Schultz presented the move as one he volunteered for, though previous reports have suggested that MSNBC was looking to replace him.”
In fact, the New York Times suggested last fall that Schultz’s shows was at risk of being moved in favor of some fresh blood — that according to NBC sources.
“I raised my hand for this assignment for a number of personal and professional reasons,” Schultz contended on Wednesday. “My fight on ‘The Ed Show’ has been for the workers and the middle class. This new time slot will give me the opportunity to produce and focus on stories that I care about and I know are important terribly to American families and American workers.”
“I’m going to be here at MSNBC for a long time,” he assured. “I’m not going anywhere.”
As for the reason for the change, HuffPo suggests it’s not necessarily numbers, as the host was the second highest-rated in February. Rather, it might be that the network is tiring of his antics:
The change may be one of tone rather than numbers. Schultz’s ratings have been solid — he was the second-highest-rated host on the network in February — but his barnstorming, Midwestern, labor-friendly brand of populist liberalism has come to look more and more at odds with the increasingly elite and wonkish tone taking hold on the rest of MSNBC. The network has spent its last year grooming hosts like Chris Hayes, Melissa Harris-Perry and Ezra Klein, all of whom bring a far different approach to their work than Schultz.
“It’s an exciting time for MSNBC, and I’m looking forward to having Ed’s powerful voice on our network for a long time,” NBC president Phil Griffin said despite the speculation.
Thursday will be Schultz’s last weekday show. The weekend assignment will start in April. No replacement has been named.