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MSNBC Shakes Up Weekend Schedule, Launching Panel Show,

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MSNBC is shaking up its weekend schedule as CNN’s Saturday and Sunday offerings continue to provide competition.

The NBCUniversal cable-news outlet plans to a launch a new panel show, “The Weekend,” co-moderated by  Alicia Menendez, Symone Sanders-Townsend and Michael Steele that will air Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. That move will consolidate anchors who had been active on the weekend schedule in their own time slots, and leave room for change.

“As Decision 2024 ramps up, the show will provide thoughtful analysis and coverage on the state of our country from three trusted voices familiar to the MSNBC audience,” said Rashida Jones, president of MSNBC, in a memo to staffers.

Alex Witt, one of the longest-serving news anchors on MSNBC, gets new hours to fill, with an expanded 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. slot on both Saturday and Sunday. Yasmin Vossoughian, who had been doing news in the afternoons, will focus solely on working as a national reporter for MSNBC. Both Jonathan Capehart and Katie Phang will see their programs move — Phang to noon on Saturdays and Capehart to 6 p.m. on both weekend evenings.

Ayman Mohyeldin will takeover Mehdi Hasan’s one-hour program on Sundays, expanding to four hours on both Saturday and Sundays. Hasan, one of MSNBC’s most outspoken commentators, will remain at the network as a political analyst and fill-in host.

MSNBC’s weekend schedule has long been edged out by CNN among viewers between 25 and 54 — the audience most coveted by advertisers in news programming. CNN launched a new Saturday-morning lineup in November featuring Victor Blackwell,. Chris Wallace and Christiane Amanpour, and paced ahead of MSNBC in both that demographic and total viewers, according to recent data from Nielsen. CNN’s weekend afternoons are also winning more viewers than the same time periods at MSNBC.

MSNBC has for months worked to expand its roster of opinion hosts on weekends, tamping down straight news programming. But many of the cable giants have begun to focus more intently on news as advertisers balk at aligning themselves with single-host opinion shows that often draw the scrutiny of advocacy groups. Jen Psaki, who avoids the hammer-and-tong oratory used by many primetime news hosts, recently saw her purview at MSNBC expand to Monday.

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