So now that afternoons are settled and with Lack basically confirming to Variety what was exclusively reported here last month regarding the likely expansion of Morning Joe (an additional hour extending to 10:00 AM EST), the last piece of the puzzle appears to be primetime. Note: 9:00 PM and 10:00 PM will remain safely in the hands of Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell, leaving 8:00 PM (All in with Chris Hayes) as the next possible timeslot for alteration. So with all of that said, a well-placed source now informs me that a meeting has been set between Olbermann and Lack to discuss his return to the network and his old 8:00 PM slot. When asked for comment, a network executive with knowledge close to the situation tells me, “It is patently untrue.”
Said source indicates the impetus for the conversation is to jumpstart sagging ratings under Hayes, which has been a consistent drag on the rest of primetime since launching on April Fools Day in 2013. At one point this year in May, the show averaged only 74k in the demo, making it the worst performing MSNBC program at 8:00 PM since 2005. And given Olbermann is now a free agent after leaving ESPN again in July (Note: on good terms if the company’s farewell statement is any indication), he appears to be the only remedy for Lack.