Is Lawrence O’Donnell’s last word on MSNBC coming sooner rather than later? If the primetime host and the cable network don’t soon come to terms on his contract, which expires on June 4, 2017, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell will effectively be cancelled. Should that come to pass, however, O’Donnell sounds confident he’ll move to another network.
A former Senate Finance Committee chief of staff, who executive produced and wrote The West Wing for NBC, O’Donnell has hosted the hour-long political news talk show for nearly seven years. The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell first premiered on MSNBC in September of 2010.
Rumors have been circulating for days, but this morning, after a fan posted that he was sorry the host was leaving MSNBC, O’Donnell finally addressed the situation, tweeting, “Contract expires June 4. I’ll let you know where you can watch me June 5 if it’s not msnbc. I’m sorry this situation has become public.”
Contract expires June 4. I'll let you know where you can watch me June 5 if it's not msnbc. I'm sorry this situation has become public. https://t.co/bS8V8GXbZ1
— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence) May 17, 2017
The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell: Ratings
Deadline reports The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, along with its lead-in, The Rachel Maddow Show, and its follow-up, The 11th Hour With Brian Williams, have been doing quite well in the ratings lately.
Two days earlier, MSNBC boasted a first-place finish among cable news networks in the weekday primetime news-demo ratings last week. It marks MSNBC’s first such win since the week of December 29, 2008. Three MSNBC programs finished No. 1 in the news demo in their time slots: The Rachel Maddow Show at 9 PM, The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell at 10 PM and The 11th Hour With Brian Williams at 11 PM.
Only, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, MSNBC’s ratings news got drowned out by all the noise about O’Donnell maybe about to exit the network, what with just a few weeks left on his contract and no new deal pounded out, and reports NBC News chairman Andy Lack might be mulling whether he would prefer to move The 11th Hour host Brian Williams into the 10 PM slot.
Last week on Thursday — the day NBC News aired Lester Holt’s jaw-dropping interview with President Donald Trump, to the benefit of NBC News programs across the broadcast network and MSNBC (including O’Donnell’s, which ranked No. 1 in its slot in the news demo and No. 2 in all of cable TV), the primetime show host thanked viewers for their support, adding meaningfully, “We need it”:
The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell: Conflicting Reports on Contract Talks
On May 14, freelance reporter Yashar Ali, who contributes to both The Daily Beast and New York Magazine, reported on Huffington Post that four “well-placed” sources had confirmed that MSNBC had not contacted O’Donnell’s representatives to work out a new deal.
According to Ali’s report, O’Donnell is not tight with NBC News chair Andy Lack, perhaps because he reportedly refused to move his show to 6:00pm. Per Ali, O’Donnell’s current deal guarantees a primetime slot. What’s more, Ali asserts President Donald J. Trump has, in the past, encouraged MSNBC President Phil Griffin to fire O’Donnell — more than once.
A few hours after O’Donnell revealed his potential end-date, Variety reported MSNBC issued a statement saying it is negotiating with the host. Will they be able to come to terms? Stay tuned.
What do you think? Are you still watching The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell TV show? If MSNBC cancels this TV series, will you follow O’Donnell to another network? Let us know, below.