Dismay as Mehdi Hasan’s MSNBC and Peacock News Show Cancelled

Erum Salam / Guardian UK
Dismay as Mehdi Hasan’s MSNBC and Peacock News Show Cancelled Mehdi Hasan, a British-American political journalist, has been one of the most prominent Muslim voices in the US media. (photo: Shuran Huang/Guardian UK)

British-born journalist’s program had gained reputation for hard-hitting interviews

The cable TV channel MSNBC and its sister network NBC’s Peacock streaming service is cancelling the weekend news show The Mehdi Hasan Show, with its eponymous outspoken host, people familiar with the decision have told the news website Semafor.

The host and journalist Mehdi Hasan will instead become an on-camera analyst and guest host, the outlet reported on Thursday. The Peacock original show will be replaced by an additional hour of Ayman, the news program hosted by Ayman Mohyeldin.

Staff were made aware of the news on Thursday morning, according to Semafor.

Hasan on Friday confirmed the news on X, the social media platform known as Twitter.

“Yes the @MehdiHasanShow has ended on @peacock & will be ending on @MSNBC *next* month (still a few weeks left!),” the host said on X. “Thank you all for watching over the past 3 years. Going forward at @MSNBC, I’ll serve as a guest anchor across prime shows and beyond, & as an on-air political analyst.”

The show, which was broadcast live on Sundays at 8pm US eastern time, covered national politics, current affairs and global news.

The show’s reported cancellation sent shockwaves through his fanbase.

The prominent human rights attorney Noura Erakat called the show “an oasis on air and more needed than ever”.

Hasan was known for inviting guests on to his show and engaging with them in a fierce debate, often fact-checking and correcting them in real time. His line of questioning was often direct and unrelenting, refusing to let his guest avoid giving an answer.

Some of his past guests included the former national security adviser John Bolton, whom he questioned about his vehement support for the Iraq war, launched by then president George W Bush in 2003, despite it resulting in an overwhelming number of civilian deaths.

In September, Hasan interviewed the 2024 Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, whom he questioned about his position against affirmative action in US higher education, despite being a recipient of a scholarship for immigrants and their children.

More recently, Hasan has been an outspoken critic of Israel’s bombardment and military assault of Gaza after the state declared war on the Palestinian territory’s controlling militant group, following Hamas’s mass murder attack on southern Israel on 7 October. Earlier in November, he interviewed Mark Regev, senior adviser to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s former ambassador to the UK, questioning Regev firmly on the high Palestinian civilian death toll, the Palestinian children that were killed by the Israeli military and and related matters.

Hasan asked: “They’re people your government has killed. You’ve killed children. You accept that, right? Or do you deny that?”

To which Regev replied: “No, I do not.”

Along with Mohyeldin and NBC’s Ali Velshi, Hasan was among the few Muslim anchors in American television.

Before what is reportedly the official cancellation of the Mehdi Hasan show, NBC faced criticism for temporarily taking these Muslim anchors off of the air in the midst of the war in Gaza. Although one of Hasan’s scheduled Thursday night episodes did not air, plans were scrapped for Ayman Mohyeldin to fill in for the host Joy Reid on her show, and Alicia Menendez filled in for Ali Velshi, NBC denied reports it was sidelining Muslim voices and that the move was purely coincidence.

Hasan, a Briton of Indian-descent, moved to the US in 2015. He became a US citizen in 2020. Previously, Hasan was a senior columnist at the Intercept, a regular contributor to the Guardian and a presenter for Al Jazeera English.

Hasan is a graduate of the University of Oxford, where he studied philosophy, politics and economics. There, he memorably debated the subject of Islam and defended that it was a peaceful religion. The video, posted on the Oxford Union YouTube channel has over 10m views.

NBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

EXPLORE THE DISQUS SETTINGS: Up at the top right of the comments section your name appears in red with a black down arrow that opens to a menu. Explore the options especially under Your Profile and Edit Settings. On the Edit Settings page note the selections on the left side that allow you to control email and other notifications. Under Profile you can select a picture or other graphic for your account, whatever you like. COMMENT MODERATION: RSN is not blocking your comments, but Disqus might be. If you have problems use our CONTACT PAGE and let us know. You can also Flag comments that are seriously problematic.

rsn / send to friend

form code