Why Ed Schultz Got Demoted: He Was Too Much Of A Blowhard For Even MSNBC To Stomach


Ed Schultz is trying to put a brave face on his demotion from a coveted prime time slot to the wastelands of weekend cable news programming. He’s even claiming he volunteered to do it.

Nobody is buying it, of course, and it looks like the reason Schultz is being put out of sight is because his bombastic, spittle-flecked brand of punditry was getting to be too much even by MSNBC’s standards. And that’s saying something given the number of rabid partisans the network employs:

After briefly moving from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the primetime reshuffling that followed Keith Olbermann’s parting ways with MSNBC in 2011, The Ed Show finally settled in at 8 p.m., and went on to have an impressive year in 2012. The “fat, red-headed guy from Fargo,” as Schultz refers to himself, handily beat the more camera-friendly Anderson Cooper in that timeslot. And while it seems no one ever will top Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, Schultz earned MSNBC its best 8 p.m. ratings among the coveted 25-to-54 demographic since 2009.

“The change may be one of tone rather than numbers,” say Anjali Sareen and Jack Mirkinson at The Huffington Post. This is “a clear demotion” for Schultz — “the 8 p.m. cable news slot is one of the biggest prizes in prime time,” and the weekend is “simply a less prestigious time period” — but it probably says more about MSNBC than Schultz.

His barnstorming, Midwestern, labor-friendly brand of populist liberalism has come to look more and more at odds with the increasingly elite and wonkish tone taking hold on the rest of MSNBC. The network has spent its last year grooming hosts like Chris Hayes, Melissa Harris-Perry, and Ezra Klein, all of whom bring a far different approach to their work than Schultz.

“It’s arguable that, just as the Democrats viewed Schultz as the right man for the job during the heart of the Bush years, MSNBC is beginning to view others as a better fit in the age of Obama,” says CJR’s Meyer.

Put more succinctly, when you’re on attack a loose cannon can be useful. When you’re in defense mode, you need a more analytical approach to shilling.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Camburn

    Who is Ed Schultz? I know he used to be on the radio, he is on TV now? Same guy?

    • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

      He’s best known for shooting his dog.

      • nimrod

        He also is known for getting hit in the head with a whiskey bottle at a Bison game.

        • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

          That explains his affinity with Keith Oberman, who hit his head on a subway door and can no longer drive a car as a result.

      • http://proof-proofpositive.blogspot.com/ Proof

        Maybe that accounts for his downfall. Obama heard he let the meat go to waste!

      • opinionated

        Kevin, once again you make me laugh

      • slackwarerobert

        Well that explains why he is so anti gun now, he can’t have one and wants everyone else to be oppressed like he is. But anyone who gets away with shooting their wife can’t be all bad. Did they feature him in that “almost got away” series?

  • Game

    I am not a fan of Mr. Schultz, however, let’s be honest, he just did the shtick that has been done by the likes of Michael Savage, Rush, and Glen Beck on the right and used it to make himself a lot of money. I have never considered him to be a liberal, I have considered him to be a fiscal opportunist.

    For all of you rejoining in his failure, Beck, Rush, and Savage all failed at TV as well.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      They’re all entertainers first, informers second, but lets be honest. Ed’s schtick is “I’m the one liberal talk radio guy.”

    • DelawareBeachHouse

      Rush, Beck sometimes, and even the odious Savage all make cogent arguments. Ed never has. He just foams at the lips.

    • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

      Ed just parrots what his labor goonion wife tells him to.

    • opinionated

      Here is the problem he is no Rush.. No Beck and No savage he is a giant headed, angry, old, white guy who got passed over for a half fem man

  • Hendrickson2016

    Speaking of jerkoffs. Has anyone heard that Joke Heitkamp might be kicked off a bunch of stations soon? Let’s hope so. Shultz is a loony clown and Joke Heitkamp is a flat out piece of crap.

    • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

      Not to worry; I’m sure he will be hired as his sister’s chief-of-staff.

    • The Fighting Czech

      Really? Is he still on the air? I listened to him a long time ago, at first I didnt mind him at all… then he started saying some REALLY stupid things… and I never felt the need to listen to him again

    • Rick Olson

      A bunch of stations? Joel is only on KCJB in Minot as well as KFYR in Bismarck, besides his flagship station, KFGO in Fargo. Sources, please.

      • NoTea4Me

        Joel ain’t going anywhere. Somebody just dumped too much Republican koolaid in these right wing pitbulls dogdishes.

    • NoTea4Me

      Haha, the joke is on you fools. Schultz has cleaned house anywhere he is on, and Heidtkamp has the highest rated regional show in ND. Dream on.

      • opinionated

        who is he competing against? Scott Hennen with no statewide airtime? You are a winner because you simply are spread out further…. if this guy could get a real job andywhere else with a bunch of Progressives he would but he is not who they want representing them that is why he will grow old and grey in Fargo

  • mickey_moussaoui

    Ratings are the name of the game in broadcasting. Ed Schultz never made it to the status of a “big deal” in the biz. MSNBC isn’t exactly the big league either.

    • brain trust

      Big Eddie the Dog Slayer, used to be right of Rush but found the pool too crowded. The problem with the arguments from the left is that they make absolutely no sense intellectually and so they are left with dimwits as regular listeners. Unfortunately for them, dimwits have a low procreation percentage and the crowd dies off.

    • http://proof-proofpositive.blogspot.com/ Proof

      Probably the reason Ed lasted so long. When your entire network is circling the porcelain fixture, it’s a lot easier to make excuses for poor individual ratings.

      • opinionated

        “Circling the porcelain fixture” that is good

  • JoeMN

    Another useful idiot.

    Crushed between the millstones of ratings and propaganda.
    This one will leave a stain.

  • Rick Olson


    The Forum had a piece this morning on Ed Schultz. They’re reporting that this was Ed’s idea and it is not a demotion. This has been confirmed on the record by MNSBC President Phil Griffin. The article quotes Griffin as: “A daily routine of TV and radio has meant 13- and 14-hour days, Schultz said, a whirlwind of work that had prompted MSNBC President Phil Griffin to check with Schultz regularly to see how he was holding up.”

    Also: “The fact is, Ed came to me,” the network’s president said.

    Griffin said he’d like to be “on-brand” for most of the day during the weekends, and Schultz’s new time slot helps achieve that. He also pledged that MSNBC still backs Schultz strongly.

    “His voice absolutely has to be part of this network,” Griffin said.

    So, was this article a plant by Ed Schultz and his people; or was this a sincere effort on The Forum’s part to report on the reason why Schultz was demoted to a weekend time slot?

    • zipity

      Right. “Volunteering” to move to the “prime” slot of 5pm Saturday. That sounds plausible coming from a guy with an ego as big as Fat Eddie’s.

      I have some prime French “beef” for you if you’d like it…


      • Rick Olson

        Joel Heitkamp had Ed Schultz on “News and Views” right after 9:00 this morning when KFYR and KCJB air the show. The first half hour from 8:30 to 9:00 is only on KFGO here in Fargo. Ed and Joel had a nice chat, and Eddie more or less confirmed what was written in The Forum, and Ed lamented the fact that nobody else but The Forum reporter had called him to comment about the move to the weekend time slot. Schultz did say he plans to stay at MSNBC at least through the 2016 elections; and at that time he might revisit his continued presence at MSNBC. “At that point, Wendy and I just might move back to the lake full time and devote our time to the radio show only again.” (indirect quote…I didn’t catch the complete quote). Ed also said that he wants to use the weekend timeslot in order that he can get away from his desk at 30 Rock in New York, so he can go out on the road to do Charles Kuralt-like feature stories for the weekend show. It seems his equipment for the radio show is portable, so he could set up shop nearly anywhere and do the show on location. It certainly seems like Ed has begun to think about the future, now that it surely seems he’s in the twilight of his career; and there are plenty of young up and comers coming up the ranks at MSNBC.

        • opinionated

          Did he call himself Charles Kurault… He is the in god

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I’m sorry, but that’s spin Rick.

      You believe what you want. Right now MSNBC fills it’s weekend time with re-runs of Locked Up. There’s no way Schultz volunteered for it.

      Nobody but the most gullible is buying that.

      • Rick Olson

        Hey, I’m just talking about what was reported in The Forum this morning, as well as what Ed and Joel talked about this morning. I guess as always, the proof will be in the pudding, so to speak. I don’t like Ed that much, either. I’ve been on the receiving end of one of his diatribes on the air no less. It’s not fun. I wrote something rather uncomplimentary of him in The Forum many years ago and Ed all but dared me to come on his show the next day after my column ran. Naturally, I did not want to lend my good name to tangle with that big fat bully on the air on his show, where he controls the show. So, he ranted about my column for about 20 minutes and that’s the last I ever heard about it. This was before the stage was set for his national radio and TV shows.

      • NoTea4Me

        Joke is on you. You guys have been writing Schultz’s obit for how many years now? And every time he just keeps moving forward.

        You guys are maybe still sore over losing crybaby Beck on Fixed News.

    • opinionated

      Rick… C’mon… You are better than this….

  • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

    Ed envy.

  • two_amber_lamps