MSNBC and Lawrence O’Donnell are in negotiations to keep the veteran host in his 10 p.m. slot at MSNBC, according to two people familiar with the discussions. While the outcome of any talks about renewal or extension are never guaranteed, the network hopes to keep the former “West Wing” producer and writer anchoring his “The Last Word,” according to these people.
Recent press reports have suggested that MSNBC might be looking to part ways with O’Donnell and open his 10 p.m. hour to a new host. But one of the people familiar with the discussions suggested that speculation might be the result of one of the parties trying to sway negotiations. The reports, this person suggested, might best be viewed as “a new twist on an old game of chicken.”
MSNBC declined to make executives available for comment.
MSNBC might have reason to keep O’Donnell in his show, “The Last Word.” Last Thursday night, his program ranked number two in terms of attracting viewers between 25 and 54 – the demographic most coveted by advertisers in news programming. In April, “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” won more viewers in that demo than rival time-slot programming in CNN, marking the second consecutive month it has done so.
O’Donnell, a former legislative aide to New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, has held forth in the program since 2010, and got his start on the network as a contributor on “Morning Joe” and as a fill-in host for Keith Olbermann.
In recent broadcasts, he has weighed in against various elements of the Donald Trump presidency and offered scorching commentary on recent revelations about former Fox News Channel anchor Bill O’Reilly.