Craig Melvin to depart MSNBC hour to focus on ‘Today’ duties

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NBC NewsCraig Melvin is departing his MSNBC show in order to focus more time on “Today.”

The last edition of “Craig Melvin Reports” is expected to air April 1, 2022.

The network has not announced a replacement for the show, but the show did air a week of White House centric programming in the 11 a.m. eastern hour the week of Feb. 28, 2022 under the name “White House Reports.”

By departing his MSNBC hour, Melvin will focus more on his “Today” role, which is a sort of de facto third anchor for the first two hours of the morning franchise.

While he doesn’t appear at the anchor desk at the top of the show, he typically rolls up to the desk around 7:30 a.m. while also participating in a wide variety of segments. He’s also a permanent co-anchor of “Today Third Hour” at 9 a.m.

MSNBC says it will fill the 11 a.m. hour with rotating anchors until a permanent host can be named.

Melvin’s MSNBC departure is one of the latest shifts at the network to be announced. Former 9 a.m. hour anchor Stephane Ruhle moved to 11 p.m. eastern, taking over Brian Williams‘ “The 11th Hour.”

Her former 9 a.m. slot will become filled with a fourth hour of “Morning Joe” later this spring.

Meanwhile, primetime host Rachel Maddow has inked a new deal with NBCU to remain with the network but step back from her hit 9 p.m. show, at least on a daily basis. She’s also taken an extended leave to work on a film and other projects.

Moving Melvin off MSNBC to focus on “Today” makes a good deal of sense, especially if execs see him as a key piece of the network’s puzzle in the morning news war it has against ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

As it stood, he had to be on set for nearly four hours most days, much of that on the often grueling morning shift.

While now replacement show has been named, the “White House Reports” experiment of late February and early March 2022 could be a hint at where the network might be heading.

It was hosted by Kristen Welker and Peter Alexander, who also serve as White House correspondents for the network. However, the pair also anchor the Saturday edition of “Today” so they’d either need to work six days a week or rotate on and off with either each other or other talent on select days of the week.

Putting a White House themed program on at 11 a.m. would lead into Andrea Mitchell’sAndrea Mitchell Reports” at noon, which is often focused on news out of Washington, so it could create a two hour block of similar content, which could also be key as the 2022 midterms approach.