O’Donnell’s show, “The Last Word,” has been a ratings hit lately with the red-hot Rachel Maddow serving as its lead-in. As recently as Thursday night, O’Donnell was the second-most watched program in cable news, behind only Maddow. “The Last Word” won its 10 p.m. ET timeslot in both total viewers and the key news demo of adults age 25-54.
At least one insider close to the situation told TheWrap that MSNBC has had only preliminary discussions with O’Donnell’s team to negotiate a new deal — though it is unclear if those talks were initiated since a Sunday HuffPost story questioning the host’s future at the network.
Lack has taken a large role in rehabilitating Williams’s career, which took a big hit in 2015 when he was removed as anchor of “NBC Nightly News” over revelations he exaggerated stories about his reporting from Iraq and elsewhere. Lack eased him back in as a breaking news anchor on MSNBC once reinstated and eventually giving him the 11 p.m. ET timeslot.
“It made no sense to anyone at MSNBC that Brian was worthy of MSNBC but banned from NBC,” the insider said. “Some people think the plan is to get Brian into prime time and in couple years ease Lester Holt into retirement and restore Brian” as anchor of “NBC Nightly News.”