MSNBC bumped Al Sharpton from its weekly lineup on Wednesday, moving him to Sunday mornings at 8 a.m.ET.
“I’m very happy,” Sharpton told The New York Daily News. “First, I can reach a wider audience of people who don’t get home by 6 at night. Second, I can now get the A-list guests and newsmakers I want.”
“I never wanted to be a weeknight pundit,” he continued. “I wanted to be a Sunday morning newsmaker. “I wanted to be Dr. Martin Luther King, not Larry King.
In a memo to staff, network president Phil Griffin praised Sharton and his “PoliticsNation” staff.
“I want to congratulate Al and his team. For four years they have done a terrific job bringing his voice and a big spotlight to issues of justice, civil rights and equality. And as many of you know, The Rev never missed a show. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do with a Sunday morning newsmaker program.”
A network insider to told TheWrap nobody at 30 Rock believes Sharpton willingly volunteered to move to the weekends. “This move smacks of what Griffin did to Ed Schultz in 2013: does anyone think Ed put his hand up to leave 8 o’clock primetime for the weekends?”
The insider also told TheWrap there are several personalities being considered for the 6 p.m. timeslot including weekend host Steve Kornacki, current 8 p.m. “All In” host Chris Hayes and outside talent. Sharpton’s last broadcast will air on September 4th and MSNBC Live will air in its stead until a permanent replacement is named.
His move to 8 a.m. on Sunday shifts “Up” with Kornacki down to one hour on Sundays, airing from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Sharpton debuted on the network in 2011 and the show–like most of the network–did well in the ratings during the height of Occupy Wall Street and the 2012 election. Since then, it suffered in the ratings as Sharpton was often criticized for being an advocate instead of a journalist–and mocked for his less than smooth delivery on-air.