MSNBC continues to try to find the right spot in its programming lineup for Ed Schultz. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that the cable news channel is moving Schultz back to weeknights, where he will have the 5 p.m. slot starting Aug. 26.
"The move comes less than five months after ‘The Ed Show’ moved from 8 p.m. Monday-Friday to 5-7 p.m. on weekends. That announcement last March was preceded by months of media speculation that Schultz was losing the lead-off slot in MSNBC’s prime-time lineup. Schultz made the announcement on his show, saying there were ‘a number of personal and professional reasons’ for the move to weekends," THR reports.
MSNBC President Phil Griffin told the publication: "Ed has proven himself no matter where we’ve put him."
THR adds: "The latest schedule shift displaces the first airing of ‘Hardball with Chris Matthews'; currently Matthews’ show airs at 5 p.m. with a repeat at 7 p.m. Beginning Aug. 26, ‘Hardball’ will have one run at 7 p.m. ‘Hardball’s’ 7 p.m. show traditionally gets higher ratings than the 5 p.m. premiere. And Griffin expects those numbers to improve after the move. The move makes MSNBC’s prime-time lineup all new for the first time since the network’s shift to a political focus."
Said Griffin: "We’ve grown a lot in the last decade." Griffin added that Schultz "laughed a little" when Griffin called to ask him to return to weeknights, THR notes.
Griffin told the publication that the latest move "makes us whole in early prime. Obviously we had to make sure we had the right show. ‘The Ed Show’ is the right show."
"The changes also comes as MSNBC is battling ratings declines in July and its worst second-quarter finish in prime time since 2009," THR reports. "Like it did in the second quarter, the NBCUniversal-owned cable news channel finished July behind Fox News Channel and CNN. In ratings for the total day, MSNBC was also bested by CNN sister channel HLN in the second quarter. With a newsy second quarter marked by the Boston Marathon bombings and the Jody Arias trial, CNN and HLN both saw ratings increases. CNN was up 50 percent in total viewers and 78 percent in viewers ages 25-54."