MSNBC has named the Rev. Al Sharpton as host of a weeknight program on the network. Tuesday's announcement comes after the civil rights activist spent several weeks as a tryout in the 6 p.m. Eastern time slot. Apparently MSNBC executives were satisfied with Rev. Sharpton's performance,
His new program, to be called "PoliticsNation," will premiere next Monday. Sharpton is a well-known civil rights activist and minister. He calls the hosting job "a natural extension of my life work and growth."
In addition to being a guest on MSNBC throughout the network's history, he has also served as an occasional guest host on several of its programs. He hosts a nationally syndicated radio show, as well. The 6 p.m. hour serves as an important lead-in to MSNBC's weeknight slate that includes Chris Matthews, Laurence O'Donnell, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz.
Several Africans-Americans in the journalism industry have expressed frustration over the opportunity presented to Rev. Sharpton, who is an activist, not a journalist:
The Los Angeles Times reports that some have speculated that Rev. Sharpton was rewarded his own show with MSNBC after his support of the merger between Comcast and parent NBC. The merger was approved by the Federal Communications Commission in January after being opposed by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) and others who contended that NBC did not put enough African Americans in front of and behind the camera.
Spokesmen for the Reverend and MSNBC have both denied such claims, with MSNBC President Phil Griffin calling rumors that the show was an award to be "baseless."
MSNBC anchors and other media critics have often come down on the network's chief rival FOX News, as having an overtly bias in their news presentation and coverage.
For the record, with Rev. Sharpton's addition the hour-by-hour nightly programming for each network will now go as follows:
- 5:00 p.m. "The Five" bipartisan discussion panel
- 6:00 p.m."Special Report w/ Bret Baier" breaking news, bipartisan discussion
- 7:00 p.m."FOX Report w/ Shepard Smith" non-discussion, non-pundit, breaking news
- 8:00 p.m. "The O'Reilly Factor" Conservative commentary
- 9:00 p.m. "Hannity" Conservative commentary
- 10:00 p.m. "On the Record w/Greta" Conservative commentary
- 5:00 p.m."Hardball with Chris Matthews" Liberal commentary
- 6:00 p.m. "PoliticsNation" Liberal commentary
- 7:00 p.m. "Hardball with Chris Matthews" Liberal commentary
- 8:00p.m. "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell" Liberal (socialist) commentary
- 9:00p.m. "The Rachel Maddow Show" Liberal commentary
- 10:00 p.m "The Ed Show" Liberal commentary
Hours per week of nightly partisan programing:
- FOX News: 15
- MSNBC: 30
The Associated Press contributed to this article.