O’Donnell will start developing the program immediately, though no format, title or start date has been set. The show will be based out of New York City.
O’Donnell has been with MSNBC since 1996, serving as a political analyst.
“Lawrence O’Donnell is an incredible talent, who our audience has gotten to know throughout the years, most recently as Keith Olbermann’s principal guest host on ‘Countdown.’ It’s great to have another anchor of his caliber on the network,” said MSNBC president Phil Griffin in a statement. “This makes us a bigger and better network.”
“I’ve had a part-time job at MSNBC for 14 years,” said O’Donnell in a statement. “Now that the network and I have gotten to know each other, I’m thrilled to be going full time.”
When O’Donnell’s show starts, the 10 p.m. rerun of “Countdown” will move to 11 p.m.
Olbermann, meanwhile, is on the lookout for a new guest host to fill in on “Countdown,” tweeting earlier: “Yes, this is Countdown, The New Show Factory: guests host get their own shows meaning I’m happily looking for another new sub!”
The move is a surprising one, as MSNBC has said as recently as October that it was happy with how the “Countdown” repeats have been performing at 10 p.m.
Still, both CNN and Fox News have originals at 10 p.m., so rumors of an expansion into that hour are nothing new to MSNBC.
TVNewser last polled our audience about who should get 10 p.m. on MSNBC in February, 2009. O’Donnell wasn’t even on the list.
Olbermann was out for much of March due to his father’s illness and passing, with O’Donnell doing most of the fill-in duties. As we reported, that was “Countdown’s” highest rated month that quarter.