MSNBC has parted ways with anchor Greta Van Susteren after just six months on air, as her show failed to live up to the network’s ratings expectations.
An MSNBC executive said the decision to remove the former Fox News host was purely for business reasons, based on ratings.
"MSNBC and Greta Van Susteren have decided to part ways. Greta is a well-regarded television veteran and one of only a few broadcasters who can say they’ve hosted shows at all three major cable news networks. We are grateful to her and wish her the best,” MSNBC president Phil Griffin said in a memo to staff on Thursday afternoon. "Please join me in wishing Greta well as she departs. We have enjoyed having her on our air and we’re thankful to her and the show team.”
Ari Melber, MSNBC’s chief legal correspondent, host of “The Point” on the weekends and a regular fill-in for primetime shows, will now be the permanent host on the 6 p.m. timeslot occupied by Van Susteren.
Reached by phone, Van Susteren declined to comment. Right as Vanity Fair broke the news of the show ending, Van Susteren tweeted “I am out at MSNBC.” Her husband and agent John Coale told CNN they were notified this morning.
An MSNBC executive speaking on background called the split “amicable,” saying that they tried to support the show but that the numbers “weren’t there.”
MSNBC has seen significant gains in ratings for its prime-time lineup, especially in the coveted advertising demo of 25 to 54-year-olds. The 6 p.m. hour is an important segue into prime time. With MSNBC experiencing a ratings boom for the shows hosted by Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell, there was a concern that Van Susteren’s low numbers were hurting those shows, the executive said.
The executive said they had worked with Van Susteren for some time to to help bring up the show’s low performance and “turning it around.” But nothing seemed to catch on.
Van Susteren, a former lawyer, joined MSNBC after 14 years with Fox News, from which she was similarly taken off air without a chance to say goodbye. Her MSNBC show broadcast out of a newly built studio in Washington where she was known to attract both Republicans and Democrats to her show for wonky discussion about policy and politics.
Van Susteren’s last show was on Wednesday evening. Melber takes over in July.