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MSNBC to Launch Limited-Run Friday Series for Richard Engel

Variety logo Variety 7/2/2017 Brian Steinberg
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MSNBC has begun running promos for a new program called “On Assignment” featuring Richard Engel, the chief foreign correspondent for NBC News.

The show is expected to run at 9 p.m. on Fridays – a slot normally inhabited by Rachel Maddow – over the course of a few weeks. The network expects the “special series,” as it is billed in the promo, to surface occasionally over time.

“Richard Engel doesn’t just get the story, he goes to the center of it,” says an announcer during one of the MSNBC promos. Most of the NBCUniversal-owned cable-network’s lineup features studio shows rather than correspondents who take to the field. Engel, however, spends a good chunk of his time traveling to different remote locales. He was elevated to his current role in April 2008.

Engel has lived in the Middle East since graduating from Stanford University in 1996 with a B.A. in international relations. He has become known for his reports from countries in the midst of turmoil, including Iraq, Libya and Egypt. He speaks fluent Arabic.

“On Assignment” has fast become a popular title for TV news programs. CBS News intends on July 31 to start a limited series called “On Assignment” that features reports from the team associated with its CBSN video-streaming hub. NBC News in May of last year tested a spin-off of its venerable “Dateline” newsmagazine called “On Assignment” that put a focus on tales of adventure and innovation. In one of the reports featured on that program, Engel helped cover the rescue of a chimpanzee – all part of a search deep in the Congo for giant chimpanzees threatened by poachers.

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