Cosby does Fox trot to MSNBC slot

Show to debut in fourth quarter

NEW YORK — Fox weekend anchor Rita Cosby has signed with MSNBC to host a weekday show, likely airing at 11 p.m. in a spot currently held by a taped rebroadcast of “Hardball With Chris Matthews.”

Talks between Cosby and Fox News broke down on Thursday (Daily Variety, May 13); MSNBC announced it had signed the weekend anchor Friday.

Talks between Cosby and Fox snagged over Cosby’s desire to have a primetime show.

“She became expendable because she wanted a primetime show and we didn’t have a spot for her,” a Fox rep said.

MSNBC execs say the net’s primetime sked hasn’t been finalized. Cosby’s show, which is in development, will debut in the fourth quarter. She also will serve as a special correspondent at the net.

MSNBC signed Tucker Carlson from CNN early this year and plans to unveil a 9 p.m. show in June.

A likely lineup would have “Hardball” at 7 p.m., “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” at 8, an as-yet-unnamed show hosted by Tucker Carlson at 9 and “Scarborough Country” at 10.

At Fox, Cosby hosted “The Big Story Weekend Edition” and “Fox News Live With Rita Cosby.” She interviewed Yasser Arafat, Ariel Sharon and Michael Jackson.

Prior to joining Fox News Channel, Cosby worked at CBS affiliate WBTV in Charlotte, N.C.

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