Ed Schultz announced on Wednesday night that he would be leaving his primetime MSNBC hosting slot and moving to the weekends. Beginning in April, ‘The Ed Show’ will air from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Schultz didn’t elaborate on who would be replacing him on weekdays, nor did he offer any insight on what would happen to the prison shows that MSNBC typically airs 20 hours per day during the weekends.
Thursday night’s show will be Schultz’s final one.
Schultz said during his closing monologue that he was leaving by choice. He sounded as though he really believed it, too.
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“I raised my hand for this assignment for a number of personal and professional reasons," he said. "My fight on 'The Ed Show' has been for the workers and the middle class. This new time slot will give me the opportunity to produce and focus on stories that I care about and are important to American families and American workers." He added that he did not want to spend all of his time "sitting behind this desk five nights a week."
The truth is, rumors of Schultz being moved have been running rampant for nearly six months now. While he shills for President Barack Obama about as well as anyone on the network, his appeal was limited. There was rarely, if ever, any substance to the stuff he said. Whereas Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes and, to a lesser degree, Lawrence O’Donnell brought legitimate insight to their programs on a daily basis, Schultz mostly just came across as a poor man’s version of the liberal Rush Limbaugh.
Yell about something simple. Be angry at conservatives. Appeal to the lowest common denominator. Rinse. Repeat. That was the Schultz model.
Washington Post writer Ezra Klein is expected to be named Schultz’s replacement. While he would certainly be an upgrade, MSNBC’s two real rising stars are Hayes and Alex Wagner. If the 8:00 p.m. slot were awarded on merit, it would go to one of them, and Klein would get the slot they left behind.
Update: Nope, Chris Hayes takes over. Much better move.