The Ed Show is exiting MSNBC’s primetime for weekends, host Ed Schultz announced tonight. “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,” Schultz said at the end of the show this evening. The change to weekends will happen in April. “I’m thrilled for Ed and happy to be expanding our weekend programming. 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,” said Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC in a statement Wednesday. The number two rated cable network says it will likely announce a replacement for the strident Schultz on Thursday. Frequent MSNBC contributor and Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein is considered the top contender.

Situated as the lead-in to the network’s top rated The Rachel Maddow Show, the Ed slot is a hot one for MSNBC. Schultz performed well for the network ratingswise and certainly helped contribute to MSNBC seeing double-digit gains in 2012 in both viewers and the key adults 25-54 demographic in primetime. The hour long Ed Show debuted on the liberal leaning MSNBC with the syndicated radio host as frontman in April 2009 at 6 PM ET. It went to 10 PM for a while in early 2011 and later that year in October, the show was moved to the 8 PM ET slot where it has remained ever since.

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