Chris Hayes Replacing Ed Schultz on MSNBC Primetime Lineup

Chris Hayes will move from the weekends to week nights at 8 p.m. ET

Chris Hayes is moving to primetime, MSNBC announced Thursday.

The host of "Up with Chris Hayes," who from certain angles looks like a Rachel Maddow doppelganger, will replace Ed Schultz, who is being shifted to weekend duty. Hayes will host MSNBC’s 8 p.m. ET hour starting April 1.

“Chris has done an amazing job creating a franchise on weekend morning,” Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC, said in a statement. “He’s an extraordinary talent and has made a strong connection with our audience. This is an exciting time for MSNBC.”

The move comes as a surprise to the media's chattering class. Reports had indicated that Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein was in the lead to be Schultz's replacement.

It also represents a change in style. Schultz's "The Ed Show" highlighted its host's brusque, populist demeanor, while Hayes' program has been praised for its wonky detours into thorny policy issues that are not as exhaustively explored during the primetime hour.

"Up" has aired on weekend mornings since 2011.

“I am thrilled to be joining Rachel and Lawrence [O'Donnell] in primetime,” Hayes said in a statement. “I’ve absolutely loved hosting UP on the weekends and I’m looking forward to thinking through the news five nights a week.”