Dylan Ratigan, the opinionated and sometimes hotheaded television host, is leaving MSNBC, the cable channel where he has worked for the last three years.
Mr. Ratigan, whose news analysis show is now broadcast at 4 p.m. Eastern time, said in a telephone interview that he was electing to leave cable so that he could put into practice what he has talked about on TV. Mr. Ratigan has attacked political systems, corporations and special interests on his show and promoted movements for job creation, bank reform and campaign finance reform in the past.
“Once you’ve said your piece, you can either keep saying it — and then it’s a job, good job, pays well, everybody knows your name, it’s great — or you can decide what you’re going to do about it,” he said. “And the answer is, I don’t know. But I do know, in order to figure it out, I have to dismount.”
On MSNBC, Mr. Ratigan will be replaced by the man whose show precedes his at 3 p.m., Martin Bashir. MSNBC staff members were told of the changes on Sunday afternoon after a reporter inquired about the plan.
Some members of Mr. Ratigan’s staff will be charged with creating a new show at 3 p.m. The channel may try out an ensemble of hosts and contributors at that hour.
The changes will start to take effect on June 25, after Mr. Ratigan wraps up his show on June 22.
“Think of it like ending a Broadway play,” Mr. Ratigan said, referring to a “three-year run.”
It’s an atypical end to an atypical show. Mr. Ratigan came to MSNBC from CNBC, where he hosted a stock-picking show called “Fast Money” until early 2009. Since his abrupt departure from that show, he has changed quite a bit. He has spoken out against too-big-to-fail banks and the politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, who he says are poisonously allied with those banks and other special interests. He has pushed his guests to talk about political and economic solutions rather than just problems.
In doing so, he has acted as a crusader of sorts, challenging cable news norms — and sometimes sticking out from the rest of MSNBC’s daily schedule.
Cable news, he said Sunday, “is designed to argue about rules and resources, and who should control them,” especially in an election year. That’s an argument that he’s no longer interested in having, he implied, though he went out of his way to thank MSNBC and NBC News.
Mr. Ratigan’s current contract
expires this month. He was unusually highly paid by MSNBC daytime anchor standards — about $1 million a year, according to several staff members, who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the matter. Mr. Ratigan said there was no negotiation about a new contract because he told the company three months ago that he was planning to leave. He released his television agent in January, he added.
Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC, said in an internal memorandum Sunday afternoon that Mr. Ratigan “has decided to pursue new opportunities and will be ending his role as a full-time host.”
“Dylan’s distinct voice and his fearless approach to tackling complicated issues has been a key part of MSNBC’s growth and success,” Mr. Griffin added.
Mr. Ratigan said he would keep in touch with viewers through his personal Web site, DylanRatigan.com, which includes a campaign-style e-mail list. “Basically my plan is to meet with tons of people, learn from tons of people, and then figure out a way to take the narrative I’ve been talking about, and show the most effective ways to resolve it.”
That might take the shape of a media property, he said, but no plans have been set up yet. Returning to the Broadway play analogy, he said, “I need to write the next script.”