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MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Announces Retirement on Air, Apologizes for Past Inappropriate Comments

Matthews hosted a version of the show for 23 years

On Monday’s episode of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” Chris Matthews abruptly announced his retirement from the show on air and apologized for inappropriate comments he made in the past.

“After conversation with MSNBC, I decided tonight will be my last ‘Hardball,'” Matthews, 74, said. “The younger generations out there are ready to take the reins. … They’re improving the workplace. We’re talking here about better standards than we grew up with, fair standards.”

“A lot of it has to do with how we talk to each other. Compliments on a woman’s appearance that some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were OK were never OK,” he continued. “For making such comments in the past, I’m sorry.”

After his announcement, the show cut to a commercial break; when it returned, political correspondent Steve Kornacki replaced Matthews on air and appeared surprised by the announcement. “That was a lot to take in just now, I’m sure,” Kornacki said. “I’m sure you’re still absorbing that and I am too.”

An MSNBC representative told TheWrap that the network will feature a rotating series of hosts until a new show is selected for the timeslot.

Matthews’ retirement comes three days after a journalist accused him of making inappropriate comments to her when she was a guest on his show. After the accusation was published last Friday in GQ, Matthews was noticeably absent from MSNBC’s coverage of the South Carolina primaries on Saturday.

Late last month, Matthews also garnered criticism for comparing Bernie Sanders’ Nevada caucus win to the fall of France to┬áNazi Germany in 1940, leading the MSNBC host to issue an apology. His post-debate interview with Elizabeth Warren, where he questioned why Warren believed a female employee of Mike Bloomberg’s who accused the former mayor of pressuring her to have an abortion, also received pushback.

Matthews’ on-air announcement ends his 23-year tenure as the host of “Hardball.” The show began in 1997.

“For those of you who’ve gotten in the habit of watching ‘Hardball’ every night, I hope you’re gonna miss it, ’cause I’m gonna miss you,” Matthews said on Monday evening.