schultz_5-13.jpgThat is the question raised by Politico’s Michael Calderone today, who profiled MSNBC’s Ed Schultz.

MSNBC president Phil Griffin describes the switch from David Shuster to Schultz. “I think doing the kind of program Shuster was doing wasn’t the right fit for that hour,” Griffin said. “I think you need a big personality to drive that hour, to compete.”

Mark Jurkowitz of the Project for Excellence in Journalism says the network “doubled down” on a liberal lineup with Schultz’ hiring, and former MSNBC anchor Dan Abrams calls it “a really smart move,” because “his tone, topics and worldview are consistent with the rest of MSNBC’s prime time.”

So far in Schultz’ first full month, MSNBC has improved 9% in Total Viewers from the prior month and 15% year-to-year. But the show is still in 3rd place. Says Schultz: “I’ve been in the arena of what MSNBC focuses on, and that’s independent progressive.”