Thursday, MSNBC announced the cancelation of Ronan Farrow's and Joy Reid's afternoon bombs—a move many saw coming for some time now with both shows consistently tanking in the ratings. But inside sources say that the dual cancelations are just the beginning of a major shakeup at ratings-challenged MSNBC, as the network attempts to move back toward the center after veering far left. Next on the chopping block: Chris Hayes and Al Sharpton.
Citing two "well-placed sources," The Daily Beast reports that in addition to canceling Chris Hayes' struggling 8 p.m. show in the "relatively short term," Al Sharpton's weeknight 6 p.m. show is likely to get the ax "in the longer term," with the controversial host relegated to a weekend slot.
Sharpton's "PoliticsNation," though popular with African Americans (accounting for 35 percent of the audience), has continued to underperform—as has the host, who is regularly mocked for his teleprompter gaffs and insincere posturing. Sharpton's self-promotional version of civil rights activism, his deplorable tax record, and controversy-ridden past have frequently resulted in unflattering headlines during his stint at the network.
MSNBC President Phil Griffin's personnel and programming changes are part of a larger move away from the left-wing political commentary that has become MSNBC's trademark toward straight news reporting.
“Everybody in the food chain from top to bottom understands that the Olbermann era is over,” said one of the sources. “Going left was a brilliant strategy while it lasted and made hundreds of millions of dollars for Comcast, but now it doesn’t work any more...The goal is to move away from left-wing TV.”