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MSNBC is expanding weekend news with live programming until 9 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday nights, TVNewser has learned.
As part of the expansion, conservative radio talk show host and MSNBC contributor Hugh Hewitt is getting a half hour show, airing Saturdays at 8 a.m. ET. Hewitt’s first guerst is CIA Director Mike Pompeo. In addition, Thomas Roberts will anchor two hours in the evening both weekend nights starting in July.
Hewitt’s first show, which will air live, is this Saturday morning. Expanding news programming has long been the goal of NBC News chairman Andy Lack, who created MSNBC 21 years ago. But with intensive coverage of the Trump White House, which has led to ratings gains across MSNBC, it only makes sense to add live hours where it can. For the last several weeks, MSNBC has re-aired episodes of Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell in the early evenings. Extended programming also includes anchors Alex Witt and Richard Lui.
CNN is also live until 9 p.m. on weekend nights with anchor Ana Cabrera. Fox News fills its weekend prime time with opinion shows, hosted by Jesse Watters, Jeanine Pirro and Greg Gutfeld. Pirro’s show, which airs live, is often the most-watched cable news show on weekends.
For MSNBC, its breakout weekend show has been Joy Reid‘s AM Joy. Airing Saturday and Sunday mornings from 10 a.m. to Noon ET, AM Joy has topped CNN in total viewers for three straight months starting in March. It’s also leading so far in June.
The network also added the weekend pop-business show Velshi & Ruhle Saturday’s at 12:30 p.m., and Ari Melber’s The Point Sundays from 5 to 7 p.m. ET, while Rev. Al Sharpton’s PoliticsNation is approaching 6 years on MSNBC, including two years on Sunday mornings.
Taped programming, including Lockup, for now, will air at 9 p.m. ET and into the weekend nights.