Mehdi Hasan Addresses MSNBC Departure in New Interview: ‘Better to Look Forward’

By Ethan Alter 

Screenshot of Mehdi Hasan's final MSNBC broadcast

Ever since former MSNBC anchor Mehdi Hasan departed the cable network in January, speculation has been rife within the mediasphere about the exact circumstances that prompted his exit following the cancellation of his self-titled news show. Neither side has provided in-depth answers to those questions, and that continues in a new profile of Hasan published in New York magazine.

Repeatedly pressed by writer E. Alex Jung for more details about how he and his former employer ended things, the journalist—who just launched a new Substack-based media organization named Zeteo—deftly weaved around that line of questioning.

For example, when asked whether he signed an NDA upon his departure, Hasan replies: “How do you define NDA? I signed an exit agreement with mutually agreed terms to leave.” When Jung rephrases the question, Hasan suggested that both he and MSNBC have come to an agreement that “it’s better to look forward.”


“You’ve turned me into a politician now with these questions,” Hasan jokingly added in the profile. “Yes, we’ve both agreed we’re not going to spend time going over what happened in the past or critiquing each other.”

An MSNBC spokesperson told TVNewser in a statement, “We wish Mehdi the best of luck in his next venture and thank him for his many contributions to MSNBC.”

‘Better to look forward’

Jung’s article revisits the sequence of events that preceded the cancellation of Hasan’s show—most notably his Nov. 16 interview with Mark Regev, senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, addressing Israel’s invasion of Gaza. Their combative conversation went viral after its initial airing on Peacock and earned Hasan praise from critics of Israel’s actions.

When The Medhi Hasan Show was canceled two weeks later, some of those same critics suggested that the Regev interview precipitated MSNBC’s decision. But a source at the network tells TVNewser that changes to Peacock’s lineup of MSNBC shows were planned well in advance of November as part of a larger strategic shift in programming.

Hasan—who doesn’t directly comment on the circumstances surrounding the show’s cancellation in the New York article—was expected to remain with MSNBC as an analyst and fill-in host, but instead used his final episode to announce his exit. “With this show going away, I have decided it’s time for me to look for a new challenge,” he said, adding, “I am so, so proud of what we have achieved on this show, on this network,”

Perhaps not surprisingly, Hasan is more forthcoming when talking with Jung about his post-MSNBC plans, including what he hopes to accomplish with Zeteo, which is reportedly ranking high amongst Substack’s political offerings since debuting earlier this month.

“Look, was I disappointed when they canceled my show? Of course,” he said, briefly glancing back in the rearview at The Mehdi Hasan Show. “But in hindsight, it was a blessing. I can say whatever I want in a way a lot of folks who have employers can’t. I think being self-employed is gonna be the greatest thing that ever happened to me.”