Craig Melvin Will Leave MSNBC Duties to Focus on ‘Today,’ NBC News

William B. Plowman /MSNBC

Craig Melvin will leave his 11 a.m. weekday morning slot at MSNBC at the end of March, marking the latest shift of personnel at the NBCUniversal-owned cable-news outlet.

Melvin will focus more heavily on his duties at NBC News and NBC’s “Today” program, where he is as regular a presence as Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, according to a spokesperson for MSNBC. Melvin’s contract with NBCUniversal is believed to lapse at the end of 2022, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Puck previously disclosed Melvin’s MSNBC departure.

The move is meant to give the anchor more time to focus on “Today,” and to help him pare back on the four hours of live TV he does each weekday. Melvin also co-anchors the third hour of “Today” at 9 a.m. Other “Today” personnel have looked to maintain a work/life balance in recent years, with two other 9 a.m. co-anchors — Sheinelle Jones and Dylan Dreier — ceding weekend “Today” duties as their duties during the week grew.

A rotating lineup of MSNBC anchors will step in after Melvin leaves his MSNBC program, starting April 1.

Melvin’s shift is one of several taking place at MSNBC, where Rashida Jones, the network’s president, has been navigating her way through the departure of Brian Williams from his 11 p.m. show as well as an expected pullback by Rachel Maddow from her duties in primetime.

Jones has steadily been adding a new array of opinion hosts on the weekends, where MSNBC lags Fox News Channel and CNN in viewers between 25 and 54, the demographic favored most by advertisers in news programming. MSNBC will expand its flagship “Morning Joe” franchise to four hours from three, starting in early April, and has already moved Stephanie Ruhle to host “The 11th Hour,” after she spent past months anchoring 9 a.m.

Melvin has used the cable-news perch as an opportunity to experiment and test a bevy of formats. In 2020, he spent two weeks taking viewers on location to places where the COVID-19 pandemic was flaring up. He joined MSNBC in 2011 as a weekend anchor after doing stints at South Carolina’s WIS and Washington D.C.’s WRC. He was named a co-anchor of “Today” in 2018.