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MSNBC President Phil Griffin Signs New Deal; Whither Goest Lawrence O’Donnell?

Deadline logo Deadline 5/26/2017 Lisa de Moraes
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MSNBC’s president Phil Griffin has a new multi-year contract, according to an informed source, settling one personnel question about the network.

Still no announcement on 10 PM star Lawrence O’Donnell, who tweeted May 17 that his contract expires June 4, promising to let fans know “where you can watch me June 5 if it’s not msnbc,” adding, “I’m sorry this situation has become public.”

MSNBC is riding a primetime ratings wave these days as viewers flock to hear about the latest antics of President Donald Trump and his administration. The week of May 15 marked the network’s first weekday primetime win in both the news demo and in total viewers. That week was MSBNC’s second consecutive weekday primetime win in the news demo – a first for the cable news network.

MSNBC’s crowning achievement has been Rachel Maddow taking over as the top rated primetime cable news program in the demo. Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly previously sat in that throne though, on occasion, he’d get tossed by Megyn Kelly – both of whom now are gone from that network. O’Reilly was ousted in early April after a New York Times report tallied how much he and FNC had spent settling sexual harassment allegations which led to advertiser bailout; meanwhile, Kelly makes her NBC News debut in early June.

Griffin, president of MSNBC since 2008, focuses on the network’s primetime slate, while Lack has overseen the overhaul of its daytime lineup, back to a more straight-ahead news outlet in the day part.

O’Donnell’s show, The Last Word, also does very well for the network, in the post-Maddow 10-11 PM time slot. Some sources speculate, however, that Lack wants to give the slot to Brian Williams, who currently  anchors MSNBC’s 11 PM slot.

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