Reverend Al Sharpton is getting a show on MSNBC. After weeks of speculation, MSNBC announced on Tuesday that Sharpton will begin hosting a new show called “Politics Nation” on weeknights at 6 p.m. eastern. The show will debut August 29.
The civil rights activist and minister called his new show "a natural extension of my life work and growth."
"I am very happy and honored to join the MSNBC team as we collectively try to get America to ’Lean Forward,’" Sharpton said in a statement obtained by The Huffington Post. "We all learn from our pain and stand up from our stumbling and one must either learn to lean forward or fall backwards. I'm glad they have given me the opportunity to continue my forward lean."
Sharpton has been a longtime commentator on MSNBC shows, and has guest hosted several.
“I’ve known Rev. Sharpton for over a decade and have tremendous respect for him. He has always been one of our most thoughtful and entertaining guests,” MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a statement. “I’m thrilled that he’s now reached a point in his career where he’s able to devote himself to hosting a nightly show."
Sharpton has filled in during the 6 p.m. time slot for much of the summer, follwing host Cenk Uygur departure over a contract dispute.
In late July, The New York Times reported that MSNBC was close to signing Sharpton, even after bringing in Uygur for a six-month trial. Keith Olbermann's departure in January had prompted the network to move Ed Schultz to the 10 p.m. slot, leaving a hole in the early evening. According to the Times, MSNBC offered Uygur a contract for a weekend show, not a weekday one. Uygur told the paper "that he turned down the new contract because he felt Mr. Griffin had been the recipient of political pressure.” Griffin denied the accusation.
Sharpton was once the Director of Ministers for National Rainbow Push coalition, and is the founder and president of the National Action Network, a civil rights organization. Sharpton also briefly ran for the Democratic nomination for President in 2004.