Mehdi Hasan Announced He Was Leaving MSNBC — but Why Was His Show Canceled in the First Place?

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Jan. 9 2024, Updated 12:11 p.m. ET

Mehdi Hasan attends Variety & Rolling Stone Truth Seekers Summit in August 2023.
Source: Getty Images

In the past few years, a haunting trend has gripped the TV landscape as numerous networks have succumbed to the relentless onslaught of budget cuts. Within this grim scenario unfolds a series of heart-wrenching choices that leave everyone — and we mean everyone — in jeopardy.

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In November 2023, MSNBC announced that it was axing The Mehdi Hasan Show. But why, you ask? The titular host garnered a fervent online cult following, so why was The Mehdi Hasan Show canceled? Read on for all the known details.

Mehdi Hasan signs copies of his book, 'Win Every Argument: The Art of Debating, Persuading, and Public Speaking'
Source: Getty Images
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Why was 'The Mehdi Hasan Show' canceled?

On Nov. 30, 2023, Variety reported that MSNBC was shaking up its weekend programming to keep up with its fierce competition. Alongside the abrupt cancelation of The Mehdi Hasan Show, the network began gearing up to launch a new panel show, The Weekend, co-moderated by Alicia Menendez, Symone Sanders-Townsend, and Michael Steele.

Two sources familiar with MSNBC's plans spoke with the Los Angeles Times at the time and disclosed that the changes had been under consideration for months. The weekend ratings, particularly during The Mehdi Hasan Show, consistently lagged behind those of competing networks airing during the same time slot.

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Ayman Mohyeldin's eponymous weekend news series will officially take over Mehdi's one-hour program on Sundays, expanding the Egyptian-born political commentator's coverage to two hours.

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After announcing Mehdi would lose his Sunday night show, MSNBC faced a torrent of backlash from those who believe the network canceled his show because of his pro-Palestinian views.

"It is bad optics for MSNBC to cancel [Mehdi Hasan's] show right at a time when he is vocal for human rights in Gaza with the war ongoing," Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), wrote on X in November 2023. "As a strong supporter of free speech, MSNBC owes the public an explanation for this decision. Why would they choose to do this now?"

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Former MSNBC host Cenk Uygur added at the time, "MSNBC canceled Mehdi Hasan's show. Because, of course, they did. It's not just because he treats Muslims as real human beings, it's also because he actually challenges his guests. And that is the biggest heresy in mainstream media."

What is Mehdi Hasan doing now?

After the cancellation announcement, the British-American journalist took to social media in December 2023 and revealed he would remain at MSNBC as an on-air political analyst and would occasionally take on guest-hosting duties across prime shows.

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"Thanks for the outpouring of love and support, & thanks, of course, to my amazing, talented team of producers on [The Mehdi Hasan Show]. I'm humbled and so appreciative," Mehdi shared on X at the time. "I'm not going anywhere, and you'll hear from me lots in 2024."

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But on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, at the end of his show's final broadcast, Mehdi told viewers that he was actually leaving MSNBC altogether.

He told viewers: “It’s been an absolute blast doing this live show on MSNBC for the past three years. But as we begin 2024 with an election coming, a war still ongoing, and too many Trump trials honestly to even keep track of, and with this show going away, I’ve decided it’s time for me to look for a new challenge."

He continued: "Tonight is not just my final episode of The Mehdi Hasan Show. It’s my last day with MSNBC. Yes, I’ve decided to leave. To be clear, I am so, so proud of what we’ve achieved on this show on this network, and I can’t thank you enough for tuning in and for your support, and for your feedback. But as I say, new year, new plans.”

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