NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Whether due to the constant on-air feuding between the anchors or the Republican Party’s protests that it was getting a raw deal, MSNBC moved closer to the journalistic center by removing opinionated pair Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews from Election Night anchoring duties.
The task will now go to David Gregory, the chief White House correspondent who is being groomed for a possible MSNBC primetime slot and/or the moderator job on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Olbermann and Matthews will remain on board as analysts.
Gregory will anchor the remaining primetime telecasts for the four presidential and vice presidential debates, then do the same on Election Night.
MSNBC president Phil Griffin said the channel made the decision Thursday night after re-evaluating the wisdom of having the two anchor and give opinions at the same time. MSNBC decided it was better not having Olbermann and Matthews feel as if they had to restrain themselves.
It wasn’t a particularly great two weeks of convention coverage for MSNBC. At the Democratic convention, Olbermann, Matthews, “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough and anchor David Shuster squabbled about the liberal direction of the channel. Olbermann, who stayed in New York for the Republican convention, was criticized for his remarks after a Republican video tribute remembering the attacks of September 11.
MSNBC also was stomped in the ratings by CNN during the Democratic National Convention and by Fox News Channel during the Republican National Convention.