MSNBC Names Chris Hayes New Primetime Host, Replacing Ed Schultz

Jordan Zakarin
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Chris Hayes has joined MSNBC's primetime lineup.

The 34-year old journalist will fill the 8 p.m. time slot left by Ed Schultz, the fiery populist whose program The Ed Show is shifting to the weekends. It is an indirect internal trade by the network, as Hayes has hosted a weekend morning program called Up with Chris Hayes since September 2011.

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He has also served as a frequent contributor to MSNBC's primetime lineup, including as a guest host for The Rachel Maddow Show, Lawrence O'Donnell's The Last Word and Keith Olbermann's former program Countdown.

"Chris has done an amazing job creating a franchise on weekend morning," network president Phil Griffin said in a statement. "He’s an extraordinary talent and has made a strong connection with our audience. This is an exciting time for MSNBC."

A veteran of left-leaning journalism, Hayes serves as an editor at large for The Nation.

The switch from Schultz to Hayes marks the next step in MSNBC's transformation into a young network dominated by wonky policy discussions. Another rising star cut from the same mold, Ezra Klein, was thought to have a shot at the 8 p.m. slot, and may instead fill Hayes' former spot at 8 a.m. on weekend mornings.

MSNBC is counting on Hayes to surpass Schultz's ratings in the valuable 25-54 demographic; according to the New York Times, of The Ed Show's nightly one million viewers, only 249,000 fell in that range. On the other hand, Maddow, the network's top host, pulled in 339,000 pairs of eyes in that range. Hayes' early weekend morning show pulled in 139,000 viewers in that range.

Hayes faces the task of going up against Fox News' juggernaut Bill O'Reilly, who regularly wins the 8 p.m. time slot.