Her production staff was informed of the decision Friday morning, according to three people familiar with the matter. MSNBC declined to make executives available for comment, and Cross could not be reached for immediate comment.
MSNBC decided not to renew Cross’ contract after two years, according to one of these people, and severed ties with her immediately. A rotating group of anchors will lead her weekend hours until a replacement is found, and the production staff assigned to her show are believed to be likely to stay in place.
There has been speculation that Cross’ relationship with MSNBC was becoming frayed, according to two of these people, with executives at the network growing concerned about the anchor’s willingness to address statements made by cable-news hosts on other networks and indulging in commentary executives felt did not meet the standards of MSNBC or NBC News.
And yet, the network is parting ways with an anchor who has proven popular with audiences it has sought to attract: Black viewers overall and Black female viewers in particular.
Cross was an essential building block in MSNBC’s efforts to add a broader range of diverse voices to its schedule. After competing in an on-air bake-off of sorts in 2020 with Jonathan Capehart and Zerlina Maxwell to fill weekend hours previously led by Joy Reid, Cross has presided over a loose but chatty program that she also promoted heavily on social media.
Cross, a former Washington bureau chief for BET, had worked as a political analyst for MSNBC and was a former resident fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics.
MSNBC has many options for her Saturday hours. The network has yet to announce a place for Jen Psaki, the former White House Press Secretary who is slated to launch a new program on cable and streaming in months to come. But it also has an array of recent hires, like Katie Phang or Symone Sanders, it could also utilize.