MSNBC is moving Ed Schultz back to weekdays, after shipping him to weekends just a few months ago. Starting a week from today, Schultz is taking on the 5 PM weekday time slot and Chris Matthews’ Hardball will run just once a day, at 7 PM — a switch from its double run at 5 and 7. “Chris and the Hardball team have been the cornerstone of our evening lineup, pulling double duty for us at both 5 PM and 7 PM for years,” MSNBC president Phil Griffin said in a staff memo. The move will concentrate the Matthews crowd at 7; it will also “bring Ed’s powerful voice back to the Monday-Friday schedule,” Griffin said, stating the obvious, while adding, “I’ve been thinking about making this change for quite a while and I know now is the right time with the right shows.” Which is odd because just last March MSNBC announced Schultz’s show was being bounced from 8 PM weeknights to Saturday and Sunday afternoons. No word what’s replacing Schultz’s show on weekends. Schultz, who’s been with MSNBC since 2009, initially got an afternoon slot, then moved to primetime at 10 PM, then moved to 8, before being shipped to the weekends — and now back to weekday primetime.
Ed Schultz‘s move to the weekend shift on MSNBC begins May 11, when a one-hour The Ed Show will premiere in the 5 PM ET slot, with its lead-in the new hourlong show hosted by former Democratic National Committee spokesperson Karen Finney, which still doesn’t have a name. MSNBC said Ed Show will expand to two hours later in the summer. James Holm, who exec produces Schultz’s daily radio show, is acting executive producer of the TV show, which was moved out of its weeknight 8 ET slot this month to make way for Chris Hayes’ new show All In.
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 …