Why MSNBC Host Lawrence O’Donnell May Leave the Network

By Chris Ariens 

Lawrence O’Donnell was back on MSNBC last night after a few days off.

During his long weekend, a story broke in HuffPost that, with his contract nearing an end, MSNBC had not yet begun to negotiate an extension.

In a reply to a viewer this morning on Twitter, O’Donnell wrote:

This morning an MSNBC source told us “negotiations are ongoing with the goal of renewal.”

Airing at 10 p.m. ET, O’Donnell’s show is MSNBC’s second most-watched, behind his lead-in Rachel Maddow. O’Donnell’s future in what has become a formidable prime time lineup (it won both Friday and Monday in both total viewers and the A25-54 demo) would most certainly be a lock. A rival network executive told TVNewser said the delay in re-signing O’Donnell “is the worst talent management I’ve ever seen.”

But, even with the massive growth, due in large part to the stumbles of the Trump administration, NBC News chairman Andy Lack has made it his stated goal to make MSNBC a news channel first. Chris Hayes and 8 p.m., Maddow at 9, and O’Donnell at 10 make up an opinion block of programming–one that consistently beats CNN and lately Fox News too. That is unheard of in the cable news universe. But if the last 9 months has shown us anything, the universe is changing.