out with the old?
MSNBC is apparently signaling that it will not renew host Lawrence O'Donnell's contract when it expires next month, a surprising decision given his show, The Last Word, is one of the network's biggest draws, HuffPost reports. O'Donnell has just four weeks left on his contract, which leaves an unusually tight window for MSNBC to attempt to renegotiate; most negotiations begin six to nine months before a contract expires.
HuffPost reports that people familiar with the inner workings of MSNBC say NBC News chairman Andy Lack is not happy with O'Donnell's program. While it is rumored Lack does not like the liberal slant of The Last Word, others say Lack soured on O'Donnell after a spat about moving The Last Word from 10 p.m. to 6 p.m., out of prime time, which O'Donnell had rejected.
If MSNBC failed to renew O'Donnell’s contract, it would be unprecedented, given his high ratings, but multiple sources tell HuffPost that Lack attributes O'Donnell's high-ratings to heightened interest in Trump and the fact that his program's lead-in is the top-rated Rachel Maddow show, and doesn't credit O'Donnell's star power and fan base for the high-ratings. [HuffPost]
O'Donnell has contributed to MSNBC since the network began in 1996 and has led his own show since 2010. By 2011, Donald Trump was calling the network to complain that O'Donnell was a "third-rate" anchor, although The Last Word is second only to The Rachel Maddow Show in ratings on MSNBC.