NEW YORK – Reverend Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist and minister, has been named host of a nightly live MSNBC talk show.
Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC, said in his announcement that Sharpton's show “PoliticsNation” will debut on August 29.
The choice of Sharpton to host the hour has been marked by some controversy. MSNBC has been criticized for not hiring a black journalist to fill a vacancy created by the abrupt exit of previous host, Cenk Uygur.
There were also charges that Sharpton's close ties to Comcast and the Obama White House helped him land the gig.
Sharpton dismissed these concerns, saying he was becoming the host because of his career in activism.
In his new role, Sharpton will lead discussion of the top headlines, bringing viewers his take on events in what MSNBC touts as Sharpton’s “signature style.”
“I’ve known Rev. Sharpton for over a decade and have tremendous respect for him. He has always been one of our most thoughtful and entertaining guests,” said Griffin. “I’m thrilled that he’s now reached a point in his career where he’s able to devote himself to hosting a nightly show. ‘PoliticsNation’ is going to be an incredibly strong kick-off to our evening schedule.”
"I am very happy and honored to join the MSNBC team as we collectively try to get America to ’Lean Forward,’" said Sharpton. "It is a natural extension of my life work and growth. We all learn from our pain and stand up from our stumbling and one must either learn to lean forward or fall backwards. I'm glad they have given me the opportunity to continue my forward lean."