Norville nixes MSNBC gig

Host will focus on 'Inside Edition'

NEW YORK — Deborah Norville is leaving MSNBC, she informed her staff on Friday, concluding that she doesn’t have the time to juggle two daily television shows.

Norville will focus on the syndicated “Inside Edition”; MSNBC will cancel “Deborah Norville Tonight,” the network’s lowest-rated primetime program and a distant third to Fox News Channel’s “Hannity & Colmes” and CNN’s “Larry King Live.”

“With my pre-existing commitments to King World’s ‘Inside Edition’ and to my husband and three children, there simply are not enough hours in my day to do justice to my colleagues at MSNBC and the program we aspire to do,” Norville said in a message to MSNBC topper Rick Kaplan.

Norville will continue to host the show into mid-January as MSNBC works to develop a new show for the 9 p.m. timeslot.

Norville and Kaplan had been in ongoing conversations about how to improve the ratings for the show, which averaged 266,000 viewers a night since it debuted in January. Over the same time period, FNC’s “Hannity & Colmes” drew an average of 1.8 million viewers, CNN’s “Larry King Live” 1.3 million.

Norville said the show wasn’t being produced to her standards and that an improvement would require more of her time in terms of booking guests, reporting and researching segments.

Typically, Norville would tape “Inside Edition” at CBS and then race over to 30 Rockefeller Center to host “Deborah Norville Tonight.” “Unless someone invents a time-stretching machine, that likely won’t change,” she said.

After the election, MSNBC had scaled back the show to three nights a week from five, airing a repeat of “Hardball With Chris Matthews” on the other nights.

The canceling of Norville’s show gives MSNBC’s Kaplan the first opportunity to develop his own show since he joined the net in February. Norville was signed by Kaplan’s predecessor, Eric Sorenson.

A spokesman said Kaplan is in talks with numerous cable personalities and that the new show would stick to the news-and-talk character of MSNBC’s primetime.

Kaplan said Norville’s staff would be reassigned within MSNBC.

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