MSNBC Shakeup. The Cycle, Now with Alex Wagner and The Ed Show Canceled

By Brian Flood 

MSNBC has canceled three daytime shows. One of them, for the second time.

The Cycle, Now with Alex Wagner and The Ed Show will air their final broadcasts tomorrow. While a few hosts will remain — including Alex Wagner and Ari Melber — several will be leaving, including Ed Schultz, Krystal Ball, Abby Huntsman and Touré. Other staffers affected will move to other shows or help produce the new newscasts.

As first reported by Politico, Chuck Todd will be returning to the network hosting a daily politics show at 5pmET, replacing The Ed Show. Ed Schultz had previously anchored his program at 6pmET, but was moved to weekends in March, 2013, before returning to a weekday slot five months later. Todd will be up against another DC-based news/politics show, CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.

Modeled after other ensemble shows like ABC’s The View and FNC’s The Five, The Cycle has been on the MSNBC schedule for two years. The opinion show featured Abby Huntsman, Ari Melber and Krystal Ball discussing news topics of the day. Touré and Ball have been with the show from the start. S.E. Cupp and Steve Kornacki were two of the other original hosts.

AlexWagner304Wagner’s show, which originally aired at NoonET, debuted in 2011. It moved to 4pmET in 2013. Earlier this week it was announced Wagner’s husband, former White House chef Sam Kass, was joining MSNBC as senior food analyst.

“I know you read press reports last week speculating about these changes,” writes MSNBC president Phil Griffin in a note to staff. “I hope you can understand that we were not able to confirm at that point because we had not yet finalized many of the decisions I’m sharing with you today, and we hadn’t yet spoken directly with the people involved.”

Dayside programming changes have been rumored since Andy Lack returned to the network as chairman of NBC News and MSNBC. Given Lack’s hard news roots, MSNBC will return to more news and less opinion during the day, a transformation that began in February when daytime programs hosted by Ronan Farrow and Joy-Ann Reid were replaced by two hours of news anchored by Thomas Roberts.

“In the coming weeks, as we complete our plans to create a new look and flow for our dayside programming, our 3pm to 6pm hours will begin the pivot towards live, breaking news coverage – with interim hosts from among our very talented ranks,” Griffin writes. “And then, in September, we’ll unveil a 9am to 5pm schedule driven by dynamic coverage of breaking news events that are shaping the day.”

Whether those plans include utilizing sidelined NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams during those daytime hours, remains to be seen. But the timing coincides with Williams’ return to the network.

“Change can be hard. There’s no doubt it’s been a difficult time, but we have exciting opportunities ahead,” writes Griffin