I can confirm that MSNBC is ending the top rated “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell, the popular show that follows Rachel Maddow at 10pm. O’Donnell’s contract is up shortly, and the network has not made any overtures about keeping him on.
There is a fear that despite Maddow’s dogged liberalism, MSNBC is taking a turn to the right. O’Donnell would not fit into that model. But they’ve installed Fox News’s Greta van Susteren at 6pm, and more changes are coming. (This follows the disaster with Tamron Hall and the coming of Megyn Kelly from Fox News, too.)
It seems just like MSNBC to abruptly kill their own success. They’re finally beating CNN and Fox, so why not reverse course? Crazy. O’Donnell’s ratings have never been higher.
“The Last Word” has been on since 2011, and O’Donnell has been with MSNBC since it began. If CNN were smart, they’d pick him up right away. He’s one of the smartest guys in the room, and a pleasure to watch. Among his credits are writing for and consulting on “The West Wing.”
My NBC sources say that O’Donnell’s tireless criticism of Donald Trump is the cause of the trouble. O’Donnell calls Trump a liar on TV almost ever night. Says my observer: “Phil Griffin fought back Trump’s demands to Comcast chief Steve Burke that O’Donnell get fired for years. But now he’s president and now it’s Andy Lack’s decision and Andy has never run a single promo for O’Donnell and he wants access to Trump for Lester Holt interview and more.”
Morale at NBC News has been low for some time. My source says: “This version of NBC news would have handed the Pentagon papers back to the Pentagon. The New York Times and Washington Post remain our best hope.”
Maybe Bill O’Reilly will take his place. Maybe pigs will fly.