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Why Did Chris Matthews Exit “Hardball with Chris Matthews”?

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Chris Matthews Hardball

For almost 25 years, Chris Matthews dominated cable network MSNBC with Hardball with Chris Matthews. The talk show shone a spotlight on a slew of important political issues. So why exactly did the popular commentator decide to suddenly call it a day?

Letting The Youth Take Over

On the show, Matthews stated his exit was to allow the younger generation to make their voices heard. “The younger generations out there are ready to take the reins. We’ve seen them in politics, in the media, and fighting for the causes. They’re improving the workplace. We’re talking here about better standards than we grew up with,” Matthews said on the show. With political TV being run by the older generation, some young faces could make an impact.

A Slip In Ratings

When it comes to the show’s ratings, they’ve been falling for a while. Recently, Hardball with Chris Matthews earned around 200,000 viewers in the key demographic. Fox News’ The Story With Marta MacCallum and CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront managed to topple him with higher viewership. The show still managed to earn 1.5 million viewers, but it wasn’t enough to be a huge contender. In comparison, The Rachel Maddow Show gains around 3.5 million viewers each week.

Matthews Has Had Health Issues Lately

Over the years, Matthews has been struck with health problems such as diabetes and malaria. Last year, the host was diagnosed with prostate cancer. While most men treat this with radiation, Matthews opted to use surgery. “It was a pretty easy decision to go for surgery rather than radiation or some other treatment. It made sense. The surgery was at the National Institutes of Health, and they did it on October 7,” Matthews told Men’s Health. “I stayed in the hospital from Monday to Friday and went back in for three checks in the next seven days. Eight days later, I went in to have the catheter removed. Which was a day. I’ve been fine ever since.”

Following surgery, Matthews had to miss two weeks of work. While he’s feeling fine, having to deal with another health issue while hosting can be a huge problem. Matthews, however, didn’t see his recent health issues as anything serious. “I just thought of it as another deadline to deal with in life. And you just have to make a decision. Like going on a TV show every night. You gotta do it. I wouldn’t even consider this a particularly bad situation,” he also told Men’s Health.

Chris Matthews

Michael M. S./Flickr

A Further Dive Into Politics?

While Matthews talks about politics, he could try his hand at attempting to run for office again. In 2008, he was on the verge of running for the Senate. Around this time, he was told to exit the show to focus on the race. “It’s the MSNBC stuff that’s going to jam him up. I said, ‘If you want to be a U.S. senator, step up and get into the race,'” an unnamed source told Politico.

If he ends up running for office, Matthews will follow his wife Kathleen, who ran for Maryland’s 8th congressional district back in 2015. As expected, Matthews had to publicly address the situation. “As a journalist, I also know how important it is to respect certain boundaries on my support for her both in my public role and here on MSNBC,” Matthews said on his show. “And while most of you know that our show doesn’t typically cover congressional races, I will continue to fully disclose my relationship with her as part of MSNBC’s commitment to being transparent and fair in our coverage.” Kathleen finished in third place, but she became the interim chair of the Maryland Democratic Party in 2017.

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