MSNBC Primetime Shake-up. Ed Schultz Moves to 8pm; Lawrence O’Donnell Back to 10pm

By Chris Ariens 

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Ed Schultz, whose “The Ed Show” on MSNBC began the year at 6pmET, before moving to 10pm, is now going to lead off MSNBC’s primetime at 8pm. “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” will move back to its original 10pmET timeslot.

The changes take effect Monday.

“This move will strengthen the flow of our programming throughout the evening,” says MSNBC president Phil Griffin. “Ed’s passionate voice is a perfect kick off to primetime at 8 p.m.” “The Rachel Maddow Show” will continue to air at 9pmET.

“As the name implies, ‘The Last Word’ belongs at the conclusion of our programming day, thoughtfully wrapping-up the day’s political dialogue,” adds Griffin.

MSNBC’s primetime had its last shake-up in January when Keith Olbermann left the network abruptly on a Friday night. The following Monday, O’Donnell began airing at 8pm and Schultz moved to 10pm.

Since Olbermann’s departure, MSNBC has experienced a ratings fall-off at 8pm. For the month of September, “The Last Word” was down double digits: -22% in Total Viewers and -35% in A25-54 viewers vs. last September when Olbermann was in the timeslot. At the same time, Schultz at 10pm has experienced growth, topping CNN’s “AC360” for the last quarter in Total Viewer (not A25-54 viewers), but falling behind Cooper for the month of September. Additionally, “The Ed Show” grew MSNBC’s 10pm audience during Q3 +38% in Total Viewers and +22% in A25-54 viewers vs. the show that was in the time period in Q3 2010, which was a reair of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.”

“The Last Word” will air Monday-Thursday, with documentaries airing at 10pmET on Fridays.