It feels like destiny.

He might even agree to a significant pay cut to do it, I’d imagine. The Hollywood Reporter notes that MSNBC can’t afford to pay him anywhere near the $15 million he got from Fox but, as Greta Van Susteren put it to THR, at some point “you’ve made enough money, so you don’t need the money.” Shep won’t starve on a few mil a year.

The question is where to put him. MSNBC’s primetime line-up is already full with Chris Hayes at 8 p.m., Maddow at 9, and Lawrence O’Donnell at 10. Does one of them get bumped to accommodate the new guy or does Shep get tossed into MSNBC daytime somewhere, possibly as a lead-in to Nicolle Wallace’s mid-afternoon Resistance rantings?

Smith has had conversations with MSNBC President Phil Griffin about a potential gig when his non-compete clause expires, although his price tag is expected to be considerable for any interested network.

“It’s unclear what slot he would take, but we’d want him in prime-time,” an MSNBC insider told The Daily Beast. “We are well aware [Jeff] Zucker [president of CNN] is also pursuing him, as are a number of the networks.”

Maddow gets the best ratings on the network and O’Donnell finished in the top 10 of cable news last year, thanks partly to her strong lead-in. Does Hayes get bumped for Shep, setting up a direct confrontation at 8 p.m. between Smith and the guy at Fox who catalyzed his departure, Tucker Carlson?

Or does Shep, a consummate “breaking news” guy, prefer to stay in daytime because there are more opportunities to cover breaking news then? If he’s doing an 8 p.m. show, he’ll be stuck interviewing anti-Trump commentators about the day’s events. He could try to go his own way by hosting a more traditional hard news program (replete with his own intermittent commentary) at that hour but I wonder how many MSNBC fans would tolerate that. Hayes is an outspoken leftist; as liberal as Shep is, he’s unlikely to deliver as much Resistance red meat in an hour as Hayes would. Smith at 8 could end up as an unhappy downgrade for Democrats who tune into MSNBC primetime to gorge on Trump-hatred, not accept bite-sized pieces.

But wait. Maybe there’s more room to maneuver here than at first appears:

Other insiders wondered whether Chris Matthews and Lawrence O’Donnell, at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. respectively, would survive in prime-time long past the November election, as the cable outlet’s managers seek to capitalize on Nicolle Wallace’s appeal by potentially moving her to a prime-time slot. Another person with knowledge of the situation cautioned against speculation on the futures of Matthews and O’Donnell, telling The Daily Beast that “it all depends on what happens with the election. You could see either or moving on to other endeavors or staying for another round.”

Right, much depends on who wins next fall. If Trump gets another term, MSNBC will probably double down on eager attack dogs. That’s good for Wallace. If a Democrat wins, MSNBC will shift to a defensive posture on the new administration’s behalf. That may be better for a wonk like Hayes — or for Shep, whose newsier presence in primetime won’t be as unsatisfying to liberal viewers as it would be if Trump were still in office and they were on a war footing.

Maybe they dump Matthews, who’s been there for ages, and put Smith in at 7 p.m. to do a Shep-flavored news hour before turning to the red-meat opinion hosts in primetime. That’s how I’d slot it. The curiosity factor alone (at least at first) in having Shep freed to fully speak his mind and maybe trash-talk the Fox hosts a little bit would do solid ratings as a lead-in to 8 p.m.