MSNBC is Finally Negotiating with Lawrence O’Donnell. Keep the Pressure on. It’s Working

The soap opera drama surrounding Lawrence O’Donnell’s contract negotiations with MSNBC is heating up. In a good way. Last week an article on the Huffington Post revealed that MSNBC was not actively negotiating to re-sign O’Donnell whose contract expires in June. That news startled his fans and the media world at large.

Lawrence O'Donnell MSNBC

O’Donnell is a core part of the team that is currently burning up cable news. MSNBC’s ratings are reaching record highs. For the past three weeks they have even bested Fox News in the critical 25-54 year old advertising demographic. That was considered unthinkable a few weeks ago. The brightest star in the network’s universe is Rachel Maddow, whose ratings have soared in sync with her stellar reporting on Donald Trump. O’Donnell has nearly matched her success and beaten Fox News perennial, Sean Hannity, on some nights.

Insider speculation has pointed to NBC News chief Andy Lack as the obstacle to O’Donnell’s renewal. Since his ascension, Lack has steered MSNBC to a decidedly more conservative slant. He hired Greta Van Susteren from Fox News. Also dinosaur conservative George Will. He gave former George W. Bush communications director, Nicolle Wallace, her own show. And he’s giving Hugh Hewitt one on the weekend. Why he thinks that any conservative viewers are going to tune in to MSNBC is a complete mystery. They have been trained for years to regard the network as something just this side of Satanic. Van Susteren’s show is already a dismal failure that brings down the programs that follow it.

Lack’s programming moves are disconcerting for several reasons. They make no sense from a business perspective. It is ridiculous to upend a schedule that is showing such success and is still growing. It alienates the core audience that is the foundation of that success. But there is also talk that Lack’s motivation is to suck up to Donald Trump. Considering Trump’s record low standing in the polls, that may be the dumbest reason of all to upset a winning formula.

Shortly after the HuffPost article, another appeared on Showbiz411 with a disturbingly declarative headline. It blared “MSNBC Ending Lawrence O’Donnell ‘The Last Word’ Show Despite Top Ratings (Exclusive).” It’s author, Roger Friedman, began by saying “I can confirm that MSNBC is ending the top rated ‘The Last Word’ with Lawrence O’Donnell.” That, unsurprisingly, created a stir among viewers. Even worse, Friedman cited sources that said “O’Donnell’s tireless criticism of Donald Trump” was the reason for the cancellation.

So here’s the good news. Friedman just published a new article that contradicts his prior exclusive. Apparently the outcry from viewers was so powerful that it pushed MSNBC to the negotiating table. Indeed, there has been a flood of angry viewers swarming Facebook and Twitter in defense of O’Donnell. The result appears to be the first serious talks between the network and its star.

It’s too soon, however, to declare victory. Until there’s a signed contract that locks O’Donnell into his current time slot, fans need to keep the pressure on. But they can do so with the knowledge that such tactics are working. You can call them at 212-664-4444 and email them at

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

There has never been more need for honest progressive reporting on television. The Era of Trump cannot be allowed to dispense the lies and propaganda that are emblematic of that movement. And with Fox News in upheaval (having lost its CEO Roger Ailes and its biggest star Bill O’Reilly to sex scandals), this is not the time to retreat. Activists who are seeking to turn Congress and the White House blue need to recognize that the media battlefield is just as important as the electoral one. Carry on progressive soldiers – to victory.

UPDATE (5/31/2017): Lawrence O’Donnell affirmed that he’ll be continuing on his program for the next couple of years. VICTORY!


32 thoughts on “MSNBC is Finally Negotiating with Lawrence O’Donnell. Keep the Pressure on. It’s Working

  1. Hi Keep Lawrence on ,he is good thank you.

  2. Give him a contract. The country needs to hear the truth about this deplorable fake “pres”

  3. Do not Change The msnbc line-up. It’s perfect as is. We need to hear about what this insane president is doing.

  4. Keep Lawrence on!!! Live up to your motto!!!

  5. Keep Lawrence and quit hiring leftovers from Faux News. If Lawrence goes we go!

  6. Lawrence needs to stay and is an excellent complement to Rachael. Don’t mess up a good thing and keep away from hiring any FOX cast-offs.


    • Agree. Gretta is awful. Biggest mistake in hiring her.

  8. The only explanation for Andy Lack’s behavior is that he is a corporate whore to power in this country. They must keep Trump around long enough to get their huge tax-cuts passed and signed into law. MSNBC has lost its way and Lack is clueless. He thinks their recent ratings success is because he is a genius. If that’s not clueless I don’t know what is!

  9. Keep. Lawrence on or I will quit watching.

  10. Now we apparently need to worry about Joy Reid as well. She announced this morning she is being pre-empted in her 10AM time slot tomorrow by a . . . wait for it . . . soccer game???? She will be on at noon. Whatever is wrong with this networks management?

  11. Lawrence is a wonderful commentator. Please keep him on. On the other hand, Greta is a disaster. Always turn on CNN when she comes on. These sentiments are shared by family members and friends. If you want to keep viewers do not cancel Lawrence

  12. Yes, I have noticed a slight softening in the rhetoric on MSNBC. Haven’t watched Nicolle Wallace,so I can’t speak to her program. George Will I have seen as a commentator and I can appreciate his input. Greta Van Susternen just looks like a happier person and I like her program. I think these mixes with the Rachel Maddow show and Last Word with Lawrence O’Donell give a balance to the MSNBC programming that is needed in tv news channels. Please don’t let corporate greed to grab the Fox News audience poison the ethical balanced programming you have built.
    PLEASE KEEP LAWRENCE O’DONNELL those capitilized words are to shouting. I did it in case your staff is weary from reading emails. This way they know immediately where this one belongs MaryB

  13. Foe me, Lawrence O’Donell and Rachel Maddow are an important part of evening. Please don’t change this back-to-back winning team. If you do, I will abandon MSNBC.

  14. Fore me, Lawrence O’Donell and Rachel Maddow are an important part of evening. Please don’t change this back-to-back winning team. If you do, I will abandon MSNBC.

  15. We LOVE Lawrence O’Donnell and usually love MSNBC. What are you guys doing even thinking about not rehiring him?

    Are you really bowing to Donald Trump of all people?????

    Get serious!! If you care about our country, keep Lawrence O’Donnell and keep viewers like us. Puleeze! The fact that I even have to write this is crazy. If you take him off the air, we will start a movement to boycott MSNBC

    Good info here. Since Ball-Less Griffin and Dickless Lack (the name says it all) are caving to blackmail from a mentally ill despot AND abandoning the purpose of media in a democracy – knowing COMCAST is involved as parent company makes this a delightful decision for me. I’m trembling with pure joy.
    1. I will Cancel COMCAST $220 per month (customer since 1978) &go ATT-Uverse
    2. Boycott MSNBC (easy cuztbeir FOX sloppy seconds network represents a no-imagination network and gives me NO REASON to watch.
    3. A cornucopia of wonderful clump of satanic Comcast subsidiaries that I shall badmouth and completely boycott from now till The Rapture.
    I vote with my considerable spending and influence as an educator.

  17. Why in the hell would you want to suck up to Donald Trump . Really Have lost your mind. Why would you get
    rid of Lawrence O Donnell? You have stay with one who got ya there. Next thing you know Hannity will be there!!
    We count on you guys don’t blow it!!!!

  18. Perhaps MSNBC should consider relieving Andy Lack of his duties ,because Greta Va Saustren is boring ,Hugh Hewitt is impressed with Hugh Hewitt and quite annoying . I’m beginning to like Nicolle Wallace , George Will is just old , and I can say that because I’m old .
    I wake up in the morning and turn on Morning Joe , because its good show . MSNBc has the best news casters . When I was in the hospital & could not get MSNBC I was very annoyed I don’t like CNN . WHEN Igot home from the hospital I immediately went to ON Demand to catch up on what I missed . If MSNBC gets rid of Lawrence O’Donnell & keeps Greta ,Hugh & George I will be forced cancel my Comcast account because they “ve let a silly man andy lack apparently a Donald trump fan ruin the station . Once again get rid of lack and keep Lawrence O’Donnell . Only an idiot would mess up a winning combination in favor trump,van sustren ,Hewitt & wills ,who are dread fully out of step with the majority of America .

  19. Keep Lawrence O’Donnell. He is the most intelligent man in broadcasting. Rachel Maddow gets that distinction for women. We need to keep hearing people like Lawrence. Don’t give in to pressure from the dictatorial faux president Donald Trump! MSNBC Management: Your cast is stellar. Remove any of your prime time people and you will cripple the network. We, the viewers are okay with your salving your egos with the idea that it is your brilliant leadership that has you winning the ratings wars. Fine. That’s happening because you are intelligent enough to have hired the greatest commentators and provided them with research people and resources… and you have let them work. Don’t monkey with that. Any change you could make would diminish the product.

  20. Please keep Lawrence ODonnell, Rachel Maddow & Chris Matthew! I would like Rev. Al Sharpton’s “Politics Nation” show to return to its M-F format and Melissa Harris Perry’s weekend show!! Both cancelled shows were very informative, fast- moving and appreciated by the African-American community! Greta’s show could change to a weekend show!!! Rachel and Joe Scarborough have the most informative shows of the day! Joy Reed and Rev Al Sharpton have the best weekend shows!!

  21. If Lack keeps going conservative, I’m gone. I’m not at all interested in the conservative bend. Greta and Wallace are stiffs, who I don’t watch. Same with Hewitt. Joy Reid or Ari Melber should have gotten the 4 and 6PM slots.

  22. I’m glad someone else mentioned that they switch to CNN when Greta Van Susteren comes on at 6 p.m. That’s exactly what I do. And then I switch back for Chris Matthews (oh, he can be a character, and he does interrupt his guests all the time, but I sense he is good-natured and a patriot). I could not live without Rachel and Lawrence, and I stay up for the 11th Hour too (even though, by then, it’s a rehash of the previous several hours). I do like Nicolle Wallace; she’s a rational, intelligent voice for the conservative side, and I have no problem with a Republican perspective, just to make MSNBC a little more … ahem … fair and balanced.

  23. It’s very clear that Lack is slowly trying to take MSNBC towards a conservative view point by the appointment of Greta and Wallace. Now talk of not renewing Lawrence O’Donnell’s contract is confirming this. As loyal viewers of MSNBC my wife and I very disturbed and our confidence in this cable network is diminishing.
    If Lawrence O’Donnell leaves then so do we!!!!!!

  24. Seriously Mr. Lack, if you want conservative lies broadcasted you can go over to Fox news and work for them, but please do not try and change the REAL NEWS that Lawrence O’Donnell and the rest of the msnbc reporters deliver.
    If you do you can count me and my family and friends out as faithful viewers.

  25. Please keep Lawrence O’Donnell. He is an inspiration and tells the viewing audience the real truth about Trump as well as other important events. He is clearly one of the best and he makes a great partner for Rachel who is also a great educator.

  26. I can no longer watch if Lawrence goes.

  27. ARE YOU INSANE?! Don’t cut the Lawence O’Donnell show. His show and Rachael’s are the reason I watch MSNBC. Hugh Hewitt? Are you kidding?? In this era of Fox news and the outright lies that right wing hacks continue to spread, we need a counterpoint to their BS. Andy Lack, respectively, get your head out of your ass, and don’t ruin a good thing!

  28. Lack needs to grow a pair, and push back the pressure to replace him. His show and Rachel’s are why I tune in to your station. ( Brian Williams is cool too ). I can get all the conservative news I want. HE’S GONE, I’M GONE.

  29. If Lawrence goes so does my Comcast subscription. If you must get rid of someone get rid of Greta. Put Keith Olbermann back on at the 11th hour. What a team that would be.

  30. The difference between the MSNBC commentators and other stations simply comes down to educated and truthful reporting. Lawrence O’Donald and Rachel Maddow are by far two of the most intelligent reporters out there and any decision to not keep them on would be a ridiculous decision. Fox channel (I cannot call it news) has been the biggest purveyors of fake news and spin thus dividing our country like we have never seen before. Any leaning to be like them would be a huge mistake.

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