MSNBC announced on Thursday that it is canceling the show of outspoken journalist Mehdi Hasan as part of a weekend program overhaul, sparking backlash among supporters of the tough interviewer known lately for challenging the mainstream media’s coverage of Gaza.
Network President Rashida Jones announced to staff in a memo Thursday morning that Hasan, whose program “The Mehdi Hasan Show” typically aired Sundays at 8 p.m. and Tuesdays on streaming service Peacock, will now become an on-camera analyst and fill-in host. The move was first reported by Semafor.
Hasan has not publicly spoken on the shift, nor has he responded to HuffPost’s efforts to reach out for comment. Adam Weinstein, a producer for his show, tweeted on Thursday implying he was laid off from this “wild, wonderful ride.”
Hasan is not the only host whose show was canceled; anchor Yasmin Vossoughian is also losing her weekend program, according to the network. She will remain at MSNBC as a national reporter and fill-in host, while host Alex Witt will expand her show to three hours each day with Vossoughian’s slot.
Hasan is one of MSNBC’s three Muslim hosts, alongside Ayman Mohyeldin and Ali Velshi. According to the network, Velshi will retain his two-hour show on Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m. while Mohyeldin will take over Hasan’s evening slot to expand to a two-hour show on Saturdays and Sundays at 7 p.m.
In the past several years, Hasan has acquired a fan base of viewers who see his assertive, direct interview style as refreshing in a news industry that often throws softball questions at people in power. He is also known for his seething monologues that usually target the Republican Party and, specifically, Donald Trump.
Most recently, Hasan has come under fire alongside Velshi and Mohyeldin for their unapologetic coverage of Gaza and tough critiques of the Israeli government at a time when U.S. media is reckoning with its normally pro-Israel stance and its role in perpetuating violence against an oppressed people.
On an Oct. 9 panel on MSNBC’s show “Morning Joe,” Anti-Defamation League President Jonathan Greenblatt said that he believed the network was too sympathetic toward the Palestinian militant group based on clips he’d watched of specific MSNBC shows.
“I must say, I love this show, and I love this network,” Greenblatt said. “But I’ve got to ask: Who’s writing the scripts? Hamas?”
Last month, Semafor reported that the three Muslim hosts were quietly pulled from the anchor’s desk following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas ― an allegation MSNBC swiftly denied.
In addition to canceling Hasan and Vossoughian’s shows, MSNBC announced launching a new program called “The Weekend.” The two-hour show will air on Saturdays and Sundays at 8 a.m. and feature hosts Alicia Menendez, Symone Sanders-Townsend and Michael Steele.
“‘The Weekend’ will provide thoughtful analysis and coverage from three trusted voices familiar to the MSNBC audience,” the network said in a press release. “The program will deliver in-depth commentary and thought-provoking conversations on the state of democracy, particularly as the 2024 presidential election kicks off. It will also feature interviews with newsmakers, including reporters, thought leaders and politicians.”
The network’s revamped programming is expected to begin on Jan. 13.