Ed Schultz Being Replaced at 8pm? Not so Fast

By Chris Ariens 

Buried around word 1,130 of Brian Stelter‘s 1,200-word New York Times piece on MSNBC’s election night, its ratings gains, strategy and future plans, is this bit, which, of course, is getting the most attention.

Several MSNBC employees, who spoke about programming plans on the condition of anonymity, said the most likely candidate for a new show was the Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein, a frequent substitute for Ms. Maddow. Mr. Klein may start with a weekend time slot, but these people said the 8 p.m. weekday time slot held by Mr. Schultz was also a possibility.

A spokesperson tells TVNewser this morning, “We’re very happy with the performance of our primetime lineup, which topped Fox News Channel three nights this week. There are no changes planned.”

An insider adds Klein is “a rising star” but adds weekday primetime is set. And it seems odd that they would. Thursday night Schultz’s 11pmET re-air topped the re-air of cable news’s #1 show for the last 10 years, “The O’Reilly Factor” among younger viewers. In October, Schultz delivered the best demo viewership in the 8pm hours since March, 2009. Schultz has been in the 8pm timeslot since Oct. 2011. No small feats and thanks in large part to the strategy put in place by MSNBC president Phil Griffin over the past five years. Part of that strategy is grooming new talent, like Melissa Harris-Perry, Chris Hayes and Ezra Klein, who could slide into a weekend primetime hour.