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MSNBC is out of ‘Time’

Begala, North and staff to remain at cabler

NEW YORK — Time’s up for “Equal Time,” the MSNBC talker co-hosted by former Clinton aide Paul Begala and radio host Oliver North, best known for his role in the Iran-Contra scandal.

North and Begala will remain at the cable news net, according to MSNBC spokesman Mark O’Connor, who said the political pair are negotiating what roles they’ll play at the cabler. Begala was initially brought to MSNBC as a commentator and analyst, and sources said it’s likely he’ll return to that position.

The show will wrap next week, but no pinkslips will be flying. The staff will be absorbed into other areas at the cable net.

It’s still unclear what will air in “Equal Time’s” place. MSNBC is expected to announce a replacement show early next week.

“Equal Time,” which was originally conceived as a women’s show featuring female politicos such as Mary Matalin, Jane Wallace and Dee Dee Myers, shifted out of primetime in July 1999. Since then, it has occupied the competitive 6:30 p.m. spot, opposite the broadcast net’s nightly newscasts. In fourth quarter, its ratings were averaging a lackluster 462,000 viewers.

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