MSNBC will give network regular Lawrence O'Donnell his own
primetime show in the 10 p.m. hour where reruns of Countdown with Keith
Olbermann have aired.
The format of O'Donnell's show is still being worked out,
but it could be ready in time for a fall launch. Given the political bent of
MSNBC, it will most certainly be ready for November's mid-term elections.
O'Donnell's show will push the rerun of Countdown to
O'Donnell has been a political analyst for MSNBC since the
network launched in 1996. He is also the principal guest host for Olbermann on Countdown,
which is now on the hunt for a new guest host.
In a statement, Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC, called
O'Donnell "an incredible talent, who our audience has gotten to know
throughout the years."
"It's great to have another anchor of his caliber on the
network," Griffin continued. "This makes us a bigger and better network."
"I've had a part-time job at MSNBC for 14 years,"
said O'Donnell in a statement. "Now that the network and I have gotten to
know each other, I'm thrilled to be going full time."
MSNBC has gained ground in primetime, finishing 2009 ahead
of CNN in for the first time in network history. And reruns of Countdown
have been competitive with CNN's Anderson Cooper 360; Countdown's
10 p.m. rerun has out-rated 360 in the 25-45 demographic for the last
three months (March, April, May).
Nevertheless, MSNBC executives have long mulled an original
program at 10 p.m., and O'Donnell was a natural to front a lead-out for
Olbermann. He has managed to hold Olbermann's audience when he's subbed for the
Countdown host, which he did
frequently when Olbermann's mother and father died in 2009 and 2010,
From 1989 through 1992, O'Donnell served as Senior Advisor
to Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In 1992, he was Chief of Staff to the
Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works. From 1993 through
1995 he was the Chief of Staff of the Senate Finance Committee. He first
began working with Sen. Moynihan as Director of Communications in the Senator's
1988 re-election campaign.