MSNBC announced on Thursday that it is completely reshuffling its weekend programming slate, which includes a new ensemble two-hour block called The Weekend and the elimination of shows hosted by Mehdi Hasan and Yasmin Vossoughian.
The Weekend, which will be hosted by Alicia Menendez, Symone Sanders-Townsend and Michael Steele, will debut on Jan. 13 and air at 8 am ET on both Saturdays and Sundays. The weekend programs currently hosted by Menendez and Sanders will go away.
Sanders, who joined MSNBC in early 2022 after serving as Vice President Kamala Harris’ chief spokesperson, had recently hosted the weekend show SYMONE on both MSNBC and NBC’s streaming platform Peacock. Menendez, who joined the network in 2019, had anchored American Voices with Alicia Menendez on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, has been with MSNBC since 2011 as a political analyst and has been tapped as a fill-in host during his tenure with the network. The Weekend will be executive-produced by Kyle Griffin, who has been with MSNBC since 2008 and is widely known for his prolific social media presence.
“The Weekend will provide thoughtful analysis and coverage from three trusted voices familiar to the MSNBC audience,” the network said in a press release. “The program will deliver in-depth commentary and thought-provoking conversations on the state of democracy, particularly as the 2024 presidential election kicks off. It will also feature interviews with newsmakers, including reporters, thought leaders and politicians.”
The Daily Beast’s media newsletter Confider first reported in September that MSNBC’s weekend lineup was set for a shakeup, anchored by a morning ensemble show hosted by Menendez, Sanders-Townsend, and Steele. Network insiders later snarked to Confider that the show should be called “Morning Joe Lite.”
Elsewhere on weekends, network president Rashida Jones informed staff in a memo on Thursday, the shows hosted by Mehdi Hasan and anchor Yasmin Vossoughian will be canceled. Hasan will remain with the network as a political analyst and fill-in host while Vossoghian will continue in her role as national reporter.
Ayman, hosted by Ayman Mohyeldin, will take over the Sunday evening hour left by The Mehdi Hasan Show and expand to two hours. Mohyeledin’s show will continue to run two hours on Saturday nights.
Alex Witt Reports, anchored by Alex Witt, will assume Vossoughian’s hour of MSNBC Reports on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, expanding to three hours each day.
Other shifts include Jonathan Capehart’s show to 6 pm ET on Saturday and Sunday, as well as Katie Phang moving her early morning Saturday program to 12 pm ET. Ali Velshi, Jen Psaki, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Richard Lui will continue in their respective roles.
Hasan has come under fire recently over his coverage of the Gaza war, specifically from conservative critics angry over his pro-Palestinian stance. Last month, Semafor reported that Hasan was one of three Muslim broadcasters who had been quietly pulled from the anchor’s desk following the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack. A network official vehemently denied Semafor’s reporting that Hasan and others had been sidelined.
The same criticism Hasan has received over Israel-Hamas coverage from media rivals, however, has also followed fellow Muslim-American colleagues Velshi and Mohyeldin, who have retained their shows and even seen their roles expanded. Furthermore, as Confider reported in September, the revamped weekend lineup was already being hashed out prior to the start of the conflict in Gaza.
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