MSNBC made it official today, announcing that Joy Reid will host a new weekend program on Saturdays and Sundays 10 AM-Noon ET, starting May 7. Yes, that’s the timeslot formerly held by MHP, hosted by Melissa Harris-Perry, who left in a hail of tweets and emails after refusing to return to the slot to host election-cycle coverage, saying she was “not hungry for empty airtime.”
Reid’s untitled show will “tackle the most important news and political topics of the week and, along with a rotating panel of journalists, will explore how these issues shape the country,” MSNBC said of the new program.
“MSNBC viewers crave not only the facts, but also in-depth discussion and analysis from a range of perspectives,” MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in today’s announcement. “There is no one better equipped than Joy to lead this new project, and create a place for the kind of unique discussion our audience has come to expect.”
Said Reid: “We are a country of too much talk and too little conversation. We talk past our invisible divides of race and class, ideology and region, rather than taking them on. Saturday and Sunday mornings will be a place to talk politics and do good journalism while bringing diverse, smart and accomplished voices to the table.
“Melissa did a show that was incredibly valuable” but her new show “will fill the space with something new, something compelling, and something that adds to the conversation.”
It’s been a little more than a year since MSNBC took The Reid Report off its weekday daytime lineup, same time it yanked Ronan Farrow Daily – both of which were ratings challenged, replacing them with MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts in the 1-3 PM ET block as part of a shift toward breaking news and away from issue-talk. Since then, Reid has been serving as a correspondent at the network.
More recently, two months ago Harris-Perry and MSNBC confirmed she would not return to the cable network, after an email in which she denounced MSNBC’s decision to pre-empt her show for election-cycle coverage was leaked to the New York Times. In a tweet Harris-Perry wrote: “Farewell #Nerdland. Inviting diverse new voices to table was a privilege. Grateful for years of support & criticism.” Nerdland was her nickname for fans of her wonkish weekend political program.
That tweet came a couple days after Harris-Perry refused to host presidential campaign coverage in her show’s timeslot and, in an email she sent to staff, expressed displeasure with MSNBC for frequently preempting MHP in favor of a program called The Place for Politics. “I am not hungry for empty airtime,” Harris-Perry wrote. “I care only about substantive, meaningful, and autonomous work. When we can do that, I will return — not a moment earlier.” MSNBC, which has focused much of its programming on election coverage and commentary in the run-up to the fall Presidential election, called Harris-Perry’s complaints “really surprising, confusing and disappointing.”