« Previous Post | Show Tracker Home | Next Post »

MSNBC taps former Democratic aide Lawrence O'Donnell to host new prime-time show

Lawrence O’Donnell, whose career has taken him from the halls of the U.S. Senate to the writing room of a top entertainment show, is now getting his own prime-time show on MSNBC.

The cable news network announced Tuesday that O’Donnell, a longtime political analyst for MSNBC who has been a regular substitute for Keith Olbermann, will helm a show that will air weeknights at 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET, replacing the repeat of Olbermann’s nightly program.

MSNBC President Phil Griffin said O’Donnell fits perfectly with the rest of the network’s lineup, calling him “smart, progressive and based in fact.”

The move gives MSNBC a solid block of left-leaning hosts in prime time.

Griffin said he concluded O’Donnell was the right pick for the time slot after seeing that he was able to hold much of Olbermann’s viewership when he filled in for him during the last year. “He’s proven to connect with our audience,” Griffin said.

O’Donnell served as a top advisor to the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) and chief of staff of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. He then moved into television, working as a writer and executive producer on “West Wing,” for which he won an Emmy. He’s also had stints as an actor, most recently portraying an attorney on the HBO show “Big Love.”

“Between politics and pop culture, there’s probably no better person,” Griffin said.

When O’Donnell’s new show premieres, which is expected to be sometime in the next few months, MSNBC will move repeats of “Countdown” and “The Rachel Maddow Show” back one hour so they will air at the same time on the West Coast as they do in the East.

MSNBC executives have contemplated launching a new show in the 10 p.m. hour for some time. Last year, fans of liberal radio host Cenk Uygur of the Internet show "The Young Turks" and Sam Seder of Air America lobbied executives to select one of the two men for the time slot, urging the network to bring on another host with the liberal leanings of Olbermann and Maddow.

At the time, Griffin said he wasn’t necessarily looking for a host with similar ideology. “I want that hour to be edgy, to be smart, to be a little snarky,” he said.

On Tuesday, Griffin said he hadn’t given himself any particular deadline to create a 10 p.m. show. “I’ve been looking for years. The opportunity came up because Lawrence was ready and we’re ready, honestly.”

— Matea Gold


Comments () | Archives (8)

Shame they did not choose Cenk.

great, now you combine all 3 of the shows viewership and still lose to O'reilly.

Another host to preach to the choir. Maybe now there is a chance with the 4 hours including Softball with Chris Matthews, that one of them might have an opposing viewpoint on at least once a night. they all have the same people that agree with them on all their viewpoints on all the time. They just aren't very interesting.

I've always dreaded seeing Lawrence O'Donnell instead of Keith Olbermann on Olbermann's show. Give me Keith any day. I won't go out of my way to O'Donnell. He just doesn't have Keith's passionate delivery.

Pardon the choice of interjections here, but, bravo! Hiring Lawrence O'Donnell as a more-or-less permanent host(as permanent as one can get in cable TV)is a great move. It's too bad David Shuster couldn't be removed from permanent hiatus to rejoin the fold, too. Let's see...Ed...Chris...Keith...Rachel...Lawrence...now, what will FNC do to counterprogram?

why would FNC need to counterprogram? All of the MSNBC shows lose to the FNC shows, so why would they counter program. Most of th FNC double or triple the MSNBC shows. I think O'Reillys 2am repeat, which is the 3rd or 4th airing of the day, beats all of the MSNBC primetime shows.

Wasn't shuster the one that was suspended a couple of times for comments on the air? Was he the one that taped a CNN show while still under contract with MSNBC? Something tells me he will never be on the air again for MSNBC.

Lawrence O'Donnell is boring.

This is coming from a democrat.

Lawrence is an excellent commentator. Not so much as a host. When he filled in for Keith there were LOTS of awkward moments between he and the guests. He would make inside-the-beltway jokes that caught his guests off guard & didn't have any chemistry with the likes of Richard Wolfe, Howard Fineman & Craig Crawford(before he got the boot). Hopefully that will change once he has his own stable of guests. He seems like a fighter for the cause though, and that's a great thing. I just hope MSNBC doesn't bury him like they did Ed Schultz. Why no repeats of "The Ed Show"? Why isn't it available on-line? I'm at work at 6pm eastern and can't ever see Ed. :(

Lawrence O'Donnell may know his stuff he has a boring personality. Nothing against him personally as I am a liberal/progressive. Lacking charisma, emotion, and charisma.

The better choice would have been Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks.


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: