MSNBC is putting Ed Schultz in the 8 p.m. hot seat and giving Lawrence O’Donnell the “Last Word” in its prime-time lineup.
The lineup shakeup – announced Wednesday by the NBC-owned cable channel – will have the two finger-pointing firebrands switching time periods starting this coming Monday (Oct. 24).
As a result, “The Ed Show” (starring Schultz) will take up residence in the toughest time period in cable news, 8-9 p.m. (7-8c), up against ratings champ Bill O’Reilly and “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News Channel.
And “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” which struck out against O’Reilly as MSNBC’s prime-time lead-off hitter (baseball metaphor alert!), moves back to his former time period – 10 p.m. weeknights (9c).
A statement from MSNBC indicated that the switch is being made because of the title of O’Donnell’s show, which was originally devised to give O’Donnell the “last word” in MSNBC’s prime-time lineup. His show moved to 8 p.m. after MSNBC got rid of Keith Olbermann. “This move will strengthen the flow of our programming throughout the evening,” said a wishful statement from MSNBC President Phil Griffin. “As the name implies, ‘The Last Word’ belongs at the conclusion of our programming day . . . Ed’s passionate voice is a perfect kick off to prime time at 8 p.m.,” he said.
Certainly, a show titled “The Last Word” never belonged at 8 p.m. anyway, but what do we know? We’re more interested in ratings than titles, and the last time we looked, “The O’Reilly Factor” was cleaning O’Donnell’s clock.
So it’s off to 10 p.m. for him. And now, competing with O’Reilly becomes Ed Schultz’s problem. Well, as Jerry Seinfeld used to say on “Seinfeld”: “Good luck with all that!”
Holding steady at 9 p.m./8c: Rachel Maddow, who remains in her time slot.