NEW YORK — MSNBC said Thursday that it is canceling three of its afternoon programs, part of a network-wide shift to a straight news focus during the daytime hours.
Hour-long programs hosted by Ed Schultz at 5 p.m. Eastern and Alex Wagner at 4 p.m. were both axed, as was "The Cycle," a roundtable that aired at 3 p.m. with hosts Ari Melber, Toure, Abby Huntsman and Krystal Ball.
Schultz had the longest history at MSNBC. He was once a prime-time personality at the network and was relegated to weekends, then was brought back for a daily show. He'll be leaving the network, spokesman Mark Kornblau said.
Wagner will stay on at MSNBC as a political reporter, and Melber was named the network's chief legal correspondent. Toure, Huntsman and Ball are leaving the network.
All of the shows featured a liberal perspective. Under new NBC News boss Andrew Lack, MSNBC will focus on news coverage during the day with opinionated shows in prime time as it struggles to reverse a ratings decline. Former "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams will join MSNBC as a breaking news anchor.
MSNBC said last week that "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd will get a daily show on the cable network at 5 p.m.