MSNBC is shaking up its weekend schedule, adding a panel show and ending the hour hosted by Medhi Hasan.
Hasan is losing his weekend opinion program, but will remain with the NBCUniversal-owned progressive news network as a political analyst and fill-in. His weekly program on streaming network Peacock is also canceled due to low viewership.
Hasan’s hour will be absorbed by host Ayman Mohyeldin, whose program will expand to two hours.
MSNBC is also expanding anchor Alex Witt’s weekend newscast “MSNBC Reports” to three hours. She will pick up the hour that had been anchored by Yasmin Vossoughian, who will continue with MSNBC as a national reporter.
A new two-hour discussion program, “The Weekend” will feature MSNBC weekend anchors Symone Sanders-Townsend and Alicia Menendez. They will be joined by longtime MSNBC contributor Michael Steele, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee.
“The Weekend,” which will be based in Washington, will air at 8 a.m. Eastern starting Jan. 13.
The changes at MSNBC have been under consideration for months, according to two people familiar with the plans, which are being enacted to reduce costs.
MSNBC’s weekend ratings trail Fox News and CNN and are far lower than the rest of the week, when the network performs well with programs anchored by Ari Melber, Nicolle Wallace and Rachel Maddow. News networks typically make budget-driven programming changes at the end of the year.
In previous election cycles, MSNBC has also altered its weekend schedule to accommodate additional coverage of the presidential primary season.
But the timing may create some blowback among Hasan’s followers. The British American host, who is Muslim and previously worked at Qatar-based news channel Al-Jazeera, has been an outspoken critic of Israel’s military response to the terror attacks by Hamas on Oct. 7.
Hasan joined MSNBC in 2021.
Other weekend hosts will be moving to new time periods. Katie Phang’s Saturday program will move to noon Eastern. Jonathan Capehart’s weekend program shifts to 6 p.m. Eastern.
Ali Velshi will continue his two-hour program, which airs Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. Eastern.