The same Chris Hayes who on Memorial Day said he was “uncomfortable” calling fallen American soldiers “heroes.”

(NY Times) — Chris Hayes will take over the 8 p.m. time slot on MSNBC in the next month, the channel announced on Thursday morning, the day after the current host of that hour, Ed Schultz, said he was moving from the weekdays to the weekends.

Mr. Hayes, a liberal intellectual who has hosted a well-regarded weekend morning program on MSNBC for the past 18 months, is a protégé of Rachel Maddow, the highest-rated host on the channel. On April 1 he will become the lead-in for her 9 p.m. program, “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

The change is predicated on the belief that MSNBC can win a wider audience with Mr. Hayes than it did with Mr. Schultz, a champion of the working class whose bluster didn’t always pair well with Ms. Maddow and the channel’s other prime-time program, “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.” Mr. Hayes, on the other hand, is just as wonky as Ms. Maddow and Mr. O’Donnell, and is a regular contributor to both of their programs.

“Chris has done an amazing job creating a franchise on weekend mornings,” said Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC. “He’s an extraordinary talent and has made a strong connection with our audience.”

But taking over that hour is a difficult assignment for Mr. Hayes, given Bill O’Reilly’s commanding grip on the time slot. Mr. O’Reilly, the biggest star on the Fox News Channel, routinely doubled Mr. Schultz’s delivery of 25- to 54-year-old viewers last year, much to the chagrin of Mr. Schultz, who parodied his rival on a regular basis. The ratings imbalance at 8 p.m. helped to obscure the fact that MSNBC has, in prime time over all, crept closer to Fox in that age group.

HT: Newsbusters