Phil Griffin On Primetime Shakeup: ‘This began with Ed coming to me’

By Alex Weprin Comment

MSNBC president Phil Griffin talks to The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove about this week’s primetime shakeup at the channel. Ed Schultz will move to the weekends next month, while Chris Hayes will take over the 8 PM slot. Griffin says that the move was, in fact, Schultz’s idea.

“This began with Ed coming to me,” Griffin insisted. “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.’ ”

He also weighs in on what Hayes’ new program will look like:

Griffin said he wants Hayes to bring “the spirit” of his morning program to 8 p.m., but acknowledged that a weeknight show must be faster-paced and animated by the news of the day. He claimed not to know whether Hayes, who favors open-necked shirts on weekend television, will yield to the conventions of cable news and start wearing a tie, like every other evening MSNBC host, from Chris Matthews to Al Sharpton to Lawrence O’Donnell (though not Maddow). “I don’t tell anybody what to wear,” he said.