MSNBC Votes to Boost Politics Coverage

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MSNBC last week made several moves to boost its political coverage, including bringing Tim Russert to its lineup on weekends and having Chris Matthews set to co-moderate a Republican presidential debate on economics this week.

This past Saturday, Oct. 6, Russert's interview show shifted to MSNBC from CNBC. Tim Russert is airing at noon Saturdays, repeating at 6 p.m., and then on Sundays at 2 a.m. and noon.

“As we head into the 2008 election season, the addition of Tim Russert to our weekend lineup solidifies MSNBC as the place for politics,” Phil Griffin, senior vice president of NBC News and the executive in charge of MSNBC, said in a prepared statement.

Tim Russert features interviews with the policymakers, authors, journalists and others, and provides in-depth discussions on politics, entertainment and the media. Guests have included George and Laura Bush, Jimmy Carter, Brian Williams, Rush Limbaugh, Katie Couric, Bill O'Reilly, Kevin Costner, Tom Hanks, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Caroline Kennedy, Jay Leno, Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter and Barack Obama.

“While I am extremely fortunate to be the custodian of a national treasure like Meet the Press, I really enjoy the opportunity to host another program where I can have a more informal conversation with the world's most intriguing politicians, athletes, actors, authors and thinkers,” Russert said in a prepared statement.

Last week, officials also said that CNBC's Maria Bartiromo and MSNBC's Chris Matthews will moderate the first Republican presidential debate focusing on economic issues.

The two-hour debate is scheduled to be held this Tuesday, Oct. 9, in Dearborn, Mich., and will be broadcast live on CNBC at 4 p.m. and rebroadcast later that evening on MSNBC at 9 p.m.

The GOP debate is being jointly sponsored by CNBC, MSNBC and The Wall Street Journal.

Maria Bartiromo anchors CNBC's Closing Bell With Maria Bartiromo, and is also the host and managing editor of the nationally syndicated Wall Street Journal Report With Maria Bartiromo.

Chris Matthews hosts MSNBC's Hardball With Chris Matthews. Matthews is also the host of The Chris Matthews Show, a syndicated weekly news program produced by NBC News and distributed by NBC Universal Television Distribution.

“The economy and business issues have never been more pressing to the American people than they are today,” Bartiromo said in a prepared statement. “The objective of the debate is to draw out the important differences on the candidates' positions on topics like taxes, trade, inequality and Social Security — all issues that hit home for the American voter. I am proud to be partnering with Chris, truly an insider in Washington.”

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