NEW YORK -– David Shuster, a veteran of MSNBC and Fox News, is joining Al Jazeera America as an anchor, according a source familiar with the deal.
Shuster is the latest high-profile journalist to land at Al Jazeera America, which is expected to launch Aug. 20. The Qatar-owned Al Jazeera Media Network is pouring resources into a United States -based cable news network that will replace Current TV. So far, Al Jazeera America has reportedly hired 689 staffers –- about 200 of whom are coming from Current -- while still searching for a top news executive.
Al Jazeera America has announced plans for a prime-time show, “America Tonight,” and a daily business show hosted by former CNN anchor Ali Velshi. Soledad O'Brien, another former CNN star, recently struck a deal with Al Jazeera America to produce documentaries and will serve as a special correspondent.
Shuster is expected to anchor an hour in the evening, according to the source, but the network hasn’t yet announced its full programming line-up for next month's launch.
Shuster referred a HuffPost inquiry to an Al Jazeera America spokesman. The network did not immediately respond for comment.
The New York City-based network will be distinct from Al Jazeera English, the English-language channel that originates in Doha, the capital of Qatar. The New York Times reported in May that the American network "is aiming to have virtually all of its programming originate from the United States."
The Times' Brian Stelter wrote that Al Jazeera America will cover more domestic than foreign news and "operate much like CNN (though the employees say they won’t be as sensational) and Fox News (though they say they won’t be opinion-driven)."
Shuster will be a familiar face to cable news viewers, whether they've turned in recent years to MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, or Current TV, where he most recently served as an anchor and correspondent.
Previously, Shuster was an MSNBC daytime anchor and served as a guest-host for several of the network’s top shows, including “Countdown with Keith Olberman” and “Hardball.” Shuster came under fire during the 2008 Democratic primary for suggesting that former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign had “pimped out” daughter Chelsea by working on her mother’s behalf. Shuster weathered that storm, but left MSNBC in 2010 after being suspended for taping a pilot at rival CNN.
At the start of the Iraq War, Shuster reported from Doha for NBC News and appears in “Control Room,” the 2004 documentary about Al Jazeera’s coverage of the war.
Shuster also worked as a Washington correspondent for Fox News from 1996-2002, a political reporter for an ABC affiliate in Little Rock, Ark., from 1994-1996, and a CNN producer and editor for four years prior, according to his biography.
In addition to broadcast and cable news roles, Shuster is the executive editor of Take Action News, a website, and host of a radio show, "Take Action News with David Shuster.” Shuster's also appeared as a guest on CNN's "Reliable Sources," where he recently got in a heated debate with the Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin.