MSNBC president Phil Griffin spoke to The Daily Beast about the discussions behind the network's recent primetime shake up.
Earlier this week, 8:00 p.m. host Ed Schultz announced that he would be moving from his primetime slot to the weekends. The network later announced that weekend host Chris Hayes would take over the primetime slot. Though Schultz told his viewers that it was his decision to move to the weekends, the network was rumored to be looking for his replacement.
Griffin told the Daily Beast's Lloyd Grove that Shultz first approached him. He said:
This began with Ed coming to me ... And I will tell you that Ed has an incredible following in the network ... Ed and I were talking about his contract, and Ed is a very sharp guy. He said he wanted to be here long term ... He wanted to spend more time in Minnesota. I said, ‘Well, Ed, I am extending the weekend. I need someone for 5 to 7. It’s critical. It’s going to be as important as 8 to 10 [on weeknights].’ And he came back to me and said, ‘I want to do that long term.’
Schultz signed off from his final primetime show Thursday night. He encouraged his viewers to follow him to the weekends and watch Hayes at 8:00 p.m. "Chris Hayes is going to do a fantastic job. He's a great, brilliant young talent who's going to have a lot of years at 8:00," he said.