MSNBC is sending a morning anchor to late night in order to expand its biggest A.M. franchise.
The NBCUniversal-backed cable news outlet intends to shift Stephanie Ruhle from her mid-morning role to its late-night program, “The 11th Hour” as part of a bid to expand one of its key programs, ‘Morning Joe,” according to three people familiar with the plans. The expected maneuvers, which MSNBC would not confirm Wednesday night, were previously reported by Axios.
The moves are driven by a desire to give MSNBC viewers more of the pillars of the schedule, which at present are three hours of “Joe” and two hours of Nicolle Wallace’s late afternoon program, “Deadline: The White House.” MSNBC is working to figure out a way to replace the linchpin of its primetime lineup, “The Rachel Maddow Show,” as its host is moving on to tackle a broader content production agreement with NBCUniversal and is likely to pull back on her weekday duties.
The shifts will give MSNBC viewers four hours of “Morning Joe,” anchored by Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist, all of whom have been at the program since it launched in 2007. Indeed, under the new schedule, MSNBC will produce as many hours of “Morning Joe” during the week as it does “Today,” its flagship A.M. program on NBC. Executives believe that “Morning Joe” has a proven track record of generating bigger audiences than CNN’s morning programs, and will continue to do so in mid-morning as well. If the 5 a.m. program, “Way Too Early,” which is considered a part of overall “Morning Joe” production, is included, viewers will get five hours of politics, news analysis and discussion each weekday.
More to come….