Chris Matthews delivered another shocker in the March 2 broadcast of Hardball, when viewers found out that the longtime host was leaving. After more than 20 years at MSNBC and building a high-profile with Hardball, Matthews leaves at a time when cable news is thriving and a presidential election is only months away. Matthews stated his reasons for leaving Hardball were due to the future of journalism and changes in his field. After saying that he is "retiring," Matthews said this:
After conversations with MSNBC, I decided tonight will be my last Hardball, so let me tell you why. The younger generation’s out there ready to take the reins. We see them in politics and the media and fighting for their causes. They are improving the workplace. We’re talking here about better standards than we grew up with, fair standards. A lot of it has to do with how we talk to each other. Compliments on a woman’s appearance that some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were okay were never okay. Not then and certainly not today, and for making such comments in the past I’m sorry. I’m very proud of the work I’ve done here.
Not only is Chris Matthews retiring from Hardball on MSNBC, but his final broadcast has already aired without any grand farewell for his 20+ years on the network. His comments on his departure came during the broadcast of what proved to be his final episode, which THR reports is the result of discussions between Matthews and MSNBC regarding his retirement. His departure from MSNBC was allegedly sped up because of recent negative buzz he generated, due to comments regarding presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' campaign as well as recent accusations of making inappropriate remarks to women.
Chris Matthews did admit to inappropriate remarks in his retirement statement on Hardball before making it clear that he's proud of his work at MSNBC. The network is reportedly not expected to feature Matthews in any kind of retrospective special looking back at Hardball over the years.
The departure of Chris Matthews and end of Hardball leaves a sizable gap in the MSNBC lineup. The network will reportedly lead the hour moving forward with a rotating selection of anchors until such a time as execs at MSNBC reach a definitive decision about what comes next after Hardball. Matthews' parting message ended on a bittersweet note on his part:
And for those of you who have gotten in the habit of watching Hardball every night, I hope you’re gonna miss me because I’m gonna miss you. But remember Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca: we’ll always have Hardball. So let’s not say goodbye, but ’til we meet again.
The end of Hardball with Chris Matthews is far from the only TV news shakeup recently, but it's arguably the biggest change when it comes to cable TV news. Given that the news cycle has been racing at a fast pace between the upcoming elections and the coronavirus (which could result in the cancellation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics), among other topics, Hardball viewers will have to find a new source of the info they regularly got from Matthews.
Watch Chris Matthews' full final statement from Hardball via Twitter below:
Hardball previously aired new episodes with Chris Matthews at the helm on weekday nights at 7 p.m. ET on MSNBC. Tune in to MSNBC weeknights at 7 p.m. moving forward to see how the network changes its nightly coverage to compensate for Matthews' absence.