MSNBC is putting their morning talk show host, Al Sharpton, out to pasture–his show will now air on Sunday mornings at 8:00am.
That’s quite the demotion: his show previously aired at 6pm on weekdays–it’s now moving from five shows a week to just one show a week, and now at a time where hardly anyone is watching TV.
Of course, both MSNBC and Sharpton tried to spin it as a positive thing:
“I want to congratulate Al and his team,” said MSNBC president Phil Griffin in a memo. “For four years they have done a terrific job bringing his voice and a big spotlight to issues of justice, civil rights and equality. And as many of you know, The Rev never missed a show. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do with a Sunday morning newsmaker program.”
Sharpton has been a controversial choice for MSNBC almost since the onset. He has a long history not as a media pundit, but as a racial agitator–dating all the way back to the fight that catapulted him into becoming a household name: defending Tawana Brawley after her alleged 1987 rape, which was later proved to be a hoax.
Sharpton’s reputation on the Left and in black communities was an asset to MSNBC, largely because he was seen as part of their critical rebranding into a deeply liberal news station.
Their liberal bent helped them overtake competitor CNN as the second-ranked cable news provider in the country, though they often still ranked far belong industry leader, Fox News.
However, in recent months, MSNBC has faltered in the ratings. A number of shows have been axed, and a number of once-promising pundits have been fired or demoted–and, clearly, Sharpton is on his way out as well.