Sharpton is officially an MSNBC host


Published: Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 12:50 p.m.

After several weeks in a tryout role, the Rev. Al Sharpton has officially been named host of a weeknight hour on MSNBC.

Enlarge

The Rev. Al Sharpton arrives at the BET Awards in Los Angeles. (The Associated Press)

The program, now called "PoliticsNation," will air at 6 p.m. and it premiered Monday, the network announced last week.

In his new role, the well-known civil rights activist and minister will lead a lively and informed discussion of the day's top headlines, MSNBC said.

Sharpton called the hosting job "a natural extension of my life work and growth."

Besides his work as a community leader and religious figure, Sharpton already hosts a nationally syndicated radio show. He was a candidate for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination that eventually went to U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.

The 6 p.m. hour serves as an important lead-in to MSNBC's weeknight slate that includes Chris Matthews, Laurence O'Donnell, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz. The network has done a swift reconfiguration in prime time since the abrupt departure of its marquee host, Keith Olbermann, in January. Olbermann took his show to Current TV.

In addition to being a guest on MSNBC throughout the network's history, Sharpton has also served as an occasional guest host on several of its programs.

"I've known Rev. Sharpton for over a decade and have tremendous respect for him," said MSNBC president Phil Griffin. "I'm thrilled that he's now reached a point in his career where he's able to devote himself to hosting a nightly show."

Earlier last month, Griffin dismissed the notion that the possible hiring of Sharpton might represent a conflict of interest for the cable channel.

"He's been on MSNBC for all 15 years," MSNBC President Phil Griffin said at the time, noting Sharpton's long track record with the network.

Sharpton last year had weighed in on behalf of the Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp. as the government scrutinized the company's ultimately successful takeover of NBCUniversal.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top