MSNBC has outed Ed Schultzand replaced him at the 8 o’clock hour with Chris Hayes. The two on-air talents will be trading roles as Hayes moves to weekdays and Schultz goes off to host weekend blocks according to Dylan Byers. The changeover is scheduled for April 1, a scant 26 days before the White House Correspondents Dinner in D.C.
Brian Stelter theorizes the shift is age and lead-in to Rachel Maddow:
“The change is predicated on the belief that MSNBC can win a wider audience with Mr. Hayes than it did with Mr. Schultz, a champion of the working class whose bluster didn’t always pair well with Ms. Maddow and the channel’s other prime-time program, ‘The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.’ Mr. Hayes, on the other hand, is just as wonky as Ms. Maddow and Mr. O’Donnell, and is a regular contributor to both of their programs.”
Schultz, who has spearheaded a blue-collar vibe for MSNBC, will become host of a series of weekend specials for MSNBC. While the network has been trying to get the established anchor out from his slot for a while–remember when Ezra Klein was a bold-faced name floated for this in November? Hayes has gained steam and popular press with how he’s formatted his weekend program “Up with Chris Hayes,” especially when it comes to conservative commentators. It’s apparent MSNBC hopes he’ll be the last nail in order to drive away Fox News’ O’Reilly juggernaut. Until then, here’s hoping Hayes will join Maddow behind the bar at the White House Correspondents Dinner after-party in April.
If Nate Silver won the official election of who’s right, then who took home the popular vote? If you ask Brian Stelter, it was clearly MSNBC.
In a parallel from from years ago, it seems like the 24-hour news channel has bulked up and turned itself around since the last presidential election. The channel’s rough start as “a CNN also-ran to an Anti-Fox” came to a huge change for the 2012 election as channel has morphed into a true counter-brand to Fox News. It required a four-year re-branding message, including a series of ads where notable on-air talent like Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow stand before historic or iconic images–not to mention most were originally shot by Spike Lee.
It could be that the tides are changing, as even Variety has Fox News as a major winner and loser on election night. Buried almost the the end in the lavish praise comes the always tantalizing anonymous sources familiar with all manners of media matter. Supposedly The Washington Post’s Ezra Miller is being eyed for a possible weekend show along with Chris Hayes, or the coveted 8pm slot. But that’s neither how, now or why. What’s important is recognizing that MSNBC is skewing itself to a younger market. Whether they’re accomplishing it by not having real-time debate reactions like CNN or eshewing making everything as “Extreme” as Fox News is still up in the air. There’s a shift to get rid of the old weekend documentaries (the “Lockup” series included) and tune to constant political coverage, or even discussion like The Cycle which kicks off seven hours of specialized talking heads.
Either way, it seems like Fox News may have inadvertently followed the plot of Mean Girls too closely. The only question worth answering in the follow-up must be which network is Lindsey Lohan and which is Rachel McAdams. Maybe we’ll find out at next year’s White House Correspondents Dinner?
Tracey Ullman does research for her Showtime series "State of the Union" at the 2008 Garden Brunch. Here with Hilary Rosen and Ed & Wendy Schultz.
We’re heading into the homestretch, ready to slide into a weekend full of brunches and screenings, and oh yeah, a little thing called the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. Oh, my!
The jostling for tickets and guests to bring to the WHCA Dinner has been going on for months. As WHC Insider’s Tammy Haddad told Annie Groer in Politics Daily:
“It’s become a competition about who can get the better ‘get,’ ” said Tammy Haddad, a former producer for Chris Matthews and Larry King and thus no stranger to megawatt wrangling. “Journalists are very competitive and there are very few times they get to go head to head, like at a political convention.” The dinner, she said, gives these multiplatform media rivals a perfect showcase “to bring in someone of interest to draw attention to the work they are doing.”
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