Melissa Harris-Perry will not be back on MSNBC. On Sunday morning, two days after the host’s private fight with management went public, an MSNBC spokesman confirmed that the channel is “parting ways” with her. Earlier in the morning, Harris-Perry posted a photo on Twitter and said “Farewell #Nerdland,” a nickname for her weekend show, “Melissa Harris-Perry.” “Inviting diverse new voices to table was a privilege,” she tweeted. “Grateful for years of support and criticism.” Harris-Perry confirmed to CNN Money that her representatives are in talks with MSNBC about an exit deal. Harris-Perry had felt for months like MSNBC was trying to squeeze her off the air and take away her editorial point of view.
On Friday, she spoke out about the treatment, saying she had been “silenced” by MSNBC and placed in a form of cable news purgatory, having been pre-empted for two weekends in a row.
“Our show was taken — without comment or discussion or notice — in the midst of an election season,” she wrote in a letter to staff that was shared with her fans. MSNBC and its rivals are all trying to squeeze higher ratings out of the chaotic primary season. The channel pre-empted her for campaign coverage with a “Place for Politics” title. The same thing has happened to other shows, too, MSNBC said in a statement responding to her letter on Friday. The channel called her reaction “surprising, confusing and disappointing.” But Harris-Perry said the February pre-emptions were merely the most visible manifestation of the channel’s marginalization of her show. In the letter, she said “no one on the third floor,” where MSNBC’s executives work at 30 Rockefeller Center, “has even returned an email, called me, or initiated or responded to any communication of any kind from me for nearly a month.”
She also pointedly noted a “dramatic change” in the “editorial tone and racial composition of MSNBC’s on-air coverage.” Harris-Perry’s MSNBC contract expires in October.”All negotiations are occurring with third parties,” Harris-Perry said in a statement to CNNMoney on Sunday morning. “I am not personally in direct communication with anyone employed with MSNBC.” She added, “The goal of the negotiation at this point is to determine the terms of severance, not reconciliation.”


The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) expresses disappointment in the demise of the Melissa Harris-Perry Show. It is truly unfortunate because a significant void now exists for all audiences. There are so few black journalists and voices that serve as hosts, reporters and pundits on network news programs.


“I want to thank NABJ for the years of support. I am not a journalist and I did not come to the show from a traditional background but NABJ – both as individual journalists and as an organization – was consistently supportive of my work over the years,” Harris-Perry told NABJ by phone on Monday.


“Of course I am very sad to lose this platform. I loved this show! But in truth, any number of excellent journalists could host a valuable two-hour show on weekend mornings. I hope that someone will get a chance to do so in my absence. What I think was most valuable about the MHP Show was not me as a host, it was the diversity of our guests. We were careful and conscious and purposeful about who we invited to the table. No other political talk show could match us in that category. That is what is lost here. Not me. The show. The absence of these voices will be a tremendous loss.”


MSNBC announced on Sunday that it had officially severed ties with Harris-Perry after she walked away from the show last week. In an email that surfaced on Friday, Harris-Perry detailed her complaints about preemptions of her weekend program over the past few weeks. The New York Times reported Harris-Perry and the network had a dispute over editorial freedom and airtime.


Her MSNBC program was devoted to thought-provoking and critical discussion and analysis of politics, society, and culture aired on the weekends. For four years, Harris-Perry and the program’s team of producers provided a critical space for underrepresented voices to discuss issues of national and international importance.


“We are proud of the diverse backgrounds and viewpoints of our journalists, opinion hosts and analysts. We will gladly put that up against everyone else in the news business,” said Mark Kornblau, senior vice president of communications for NBC News.


Harris-Perry told NABJ that she does not believe she was targeted by her race, however she does not dismiss the ‘race’ factor.


The NABJ advocates for more women and people of color across all media companies. NABJ wishes Harris-Perry all the best and believes that whatever she does next will be great.


We call for all network news outlets to populate their shows with talented and diverse individuals, such as Joy-Ann Reid and Roland Martin, to bring unique perspectives that further advance its coverage.



The NABJ Board of Directors