MSNBC's Ed Schultz announced on his Wednesday show that he would be leaving his 8 p.m. weeknight time slot. Schultz will move "The Ed Show" to the weekends, where it will air from 5 to 7 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. Thursday night's show will be his last. His weekend show will begin in April.
Schultz's announcement came just after his exclusive interview with Scott Prouty, the filmmaker behind the infamous 47 percent video of Mitt Romney.
Schultz presented the move as one he volunteered for, though previous reports have suggested that MSNBC was looking to replace him.
“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."
MSNBC president Phil Griffin said he was "thrilled" for the host. "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," he said.
Schultz may have more time to travel the country, but the shifting of his show to weekends is a clear demotion. The 8 PM cable news slot is one of the biggest prizes in prime time, home to marquee names like Bill O'Reilly and Anderson Cooper. MSNBC has been building up its weekend programming, but it is simply a less prestigious time period.
The change may be one of tone rather than numbers. Schultz's ratings have been solid — he was the second-highest-rated host on the network in February — but his barnstorming, Midwestern, labor-friendly brand of populist liberalism has come to look more and more at odds with the increasingly elite and wonkish tone taking hold on the rest of MSNBC. The network has spent its last year grooming hosts like Chris Hayes, Melissa Harris-Perry and Ezra Klein, all of whom bring a far different approach to their work than Schultz.
MSNBC has yet to announce who will replace Schultz. It has been widely speculated that Klein, a rising star at the network, would be offered the job.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misstated the timing of Schultz's announcement and of his last show.