2020-03-04 18:39:02 UTC
Chris Matthews retirement announcement Monday has thrown into sharp relief just
how much of MSNBCs lineup is in flux, sources say.
Tuesday afternoon, Page Six exclusively reported that Shepard Smith, Steve
Kornacki and Joy Reid are jostling for Matthews 7 p.m. weeknight slot amid a
chaotic anchor reshuffling at MSNBC. Reid is said to be the favorite, while
Brian Williams isnt even in the running. (The 7 oclock slot will no longer be
called Hardball, as Matthews owns the name.)
Former Fox News anchor Smith, who quit Shepard Smith Reporting in October, is
plotting his return to TV and has been in talks with CNN and MSNBC execs. But a
source close to the talks says Shep is less likely to take over Matthews slot
because he wants a lot of money, and looks more suited to the afternoon, rather
than 7. Plus, Shep prefers breaking news to commentary and analysis, which at 7
is key to kicking off MSNBCs evening lineup, the source added.
Kornacki is a national political correspondent for NBC News, while Reid the
host of MSNBCs popular weekend show AM Joy and a popular substitute for other
MSNBC hosts is currently the most likely to take over at 7 p.m., according to
But this wont be BriWis prime-time redemption, even though hes a hit at 11
p.m., earning viewers trust back after his 2015 Lyin Brian scandal. Another
insider said Williams is happy and winning in the ratings at 11 p.m. If
he was put at 7 to usher in prime time, hed be judged very differently. The
audience wants red meat at 7, not a news recap. NBC reps didnt comment.
The drama belies a bigger problem at MSNBC involving almost the entire lineup.
Chuck Todd was offered 9 a.m., but after months is no closer to a deal.
Stephanie Ruhle hosts at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. If Todd switches, Ruhle could move to
3 p.m. to flex her financial expertise for the market close.
NPRs Joshua Johnson was hired as an anchor months ago but has yet to land a
slot, and Nicolle Wallace is said to have been offered a deal to extend her slot
from 4 to 6  p.m. but shes still only on for an hour. Another insider
said, Nicolle would have been the obvious choice for 7, but she prefers
starting earlier, at 4.