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Al Jazeera America Scheduling Changes Raise Questions About Network's Future

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“We are always looking at our scheduling calendar in order to offer our audience the most compelling news hours and programs.”

Visitors wait in the lobby of Al-Jazeera America after the network’s first broadcast on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 in New York. ( AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)\n

Al Jazeera America is canceling its morning news programming, fueling speculation about the future of the American branch of the Qatar-based network.

TVNewser reported that staffers who work on the network’s morning shows will be reassigned to programs broadcast later in the day, but that new assignments for morning show anchors were “unclear.”

Visitors wait in the lobby of Al-Jazeera America after the network’s first broadcast on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 in New York. ( AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

According to Variety, quoting a person familiar with the network, Al Jazeera America canceled both its early morning program and the late morning show.

The New York Post reported about more changes:

The cable outfit told staff on Friday it’s canceling both its morning news report and “Consider This with Antonio Mora” at 11 a.m. It’s also scrapping its 4 p.m. news hour and pushing its 6 p.m. coverage an hour later to 7 p.m.

In addition, Ali Velshi, the host of “Real Money with Ali Velshi,” and Joie Chen’s “America Tonight” are looking at less airtime — either shorter shows or fewer days per week.

According to TVNewser, Al Jazeera America plans to air English-language programming produced in Al Jazeera’s main studio in Qatar in place of domestically produced morning news shows.

“We are always looking at our scheduling calendar in order to offer our audience the most compelling news hours and programs,” the network said in a statement. “Increasingly, we’re finding that viewers are coming us for in-depth reporting and analysis of domestic and global news events, and our goal is to offer that around the clock.”

News of the scheduling changes follows declining viewership for the network which in recent months has reportedly worked to cut costs. Variety described the network as facing an “uphill battle” in its effort to establish a presence in U.S. homes.

National Review Online last week obtained internal emails reflecting a lively debate among Al Jazeera English staffers over the network’s editorial position on the terrorist attacks in France.

Salah-Aldeen Khadr, Al Jazeera English’s executive producer, sent a memo to network journalists imploring them to avoid characterizing the killing of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists as an assault on free speech and European values and alternately asked if the attackers could have been motivated by French actions in Mali, Libya and against the Islamic State group.

He also asked the network’s anchors and correspondents to question on-air if the phrase “I am Charlie” was “an alienating slogan.”

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