Van Susteren first migrated over to MSNBC from Fox News in January, a move that raised many eyebrows for its curious timing; just two days earlier, NBC had snagged Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly as the host for a daily morning show, as well as a Sunday evening magazine program. And, of course, January marked the inauguration of one Donald J. Trump, a man who has historically found more allies within the conservative news media.
Combined, the changes caused viewers and media critics alike to wonder whether NBC was making decisions to appeal to a more right-leaning audience even as its primary viewership base still had a liberal bent.
Van Susteren also posed a controversial figure, as she had been among the small number of Fox News hosts who publicly defended then-Fox CEO Roger Ailes amid numerous allegations of sexual harassment. (Kelly was among the Fox News personalities who went public with their complaints.)
She later said in a Facebook post in September that she regretted casting doubt on the accusers in the Ailes case, firing some pointed words at Fox News and by extension, the Murdochs, on her way out the door.
“Checks written that were suspicious should have been spotted,” she wrote at the time. She also noted that Fox “has not felt like home to me in a few years,” though she hoped “to continue my career in broadcasting.”
Prior to her exit, Van Susteren hosted For the Record during the 6 p.m. ET time slot, an iteration of her original 7 p.m. Fox News show, On the Record. The show didn’t catch on with MSNBC viewers, however, and NBC News chairman Andrew Lack seemed to hint that she might be on her way out during a New York Times profile last month.
“It’s not breaking out,” he said of Van Susteren’s show at the time. “Everybody wants every new show to break out Day 1. I think it takes time. … I’ve got patience.”