MSNBC Anchor Chris Matthews Resigns from Hardball Effective Immediately Live On-Air: 'I'm Retiring'

The longtime talk show host made the on-air announcement on Monday

Chris Matthews
Photo: Teresa Kroeger/Getty

Longtime MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews is stepping down from his post on Hardball.

The host, 74, announced his resignation from the political talk show in an on-air statement on Monday.

“Let me start with my headline tonight: I’m retiring,” he began. “This the last Hardball on MSNBC and obviously this isn’t for lack of interest in politics, as you can tell I’ve loved every minute of my 20 years as host of Hardball. Every morning, I read the papers and I’m gung ho to get to work. Not many people have had this privilege.”

“But after the conversation I’ve had with MSNBC, I decided tonight will be my last Hardball,” he said, before explaining that the “younger generations out there are ready to take the reins” with political reporting.

“We see them in politics, and the media and fighting for their causes,” he continued. “They are improving the workplace. We’re talking here about better standards then we grew up with — fair standards.”

Matthews, whose show is named after his 1988 book Hardball: How Politics Is Played Told by One Who Knows the Game, went on to apologize for making remarks some may have found to be inappropriate, including “compliments on a woman’s appearance” that “might have once incorrectly thought were okay — were never okay.”

“I’m very proud of the work I’ve done here,” he said, telling viewers that he’ll be working on another book. “I’ll continue to write and talk about politics and cheer on my producers and crew here in Washington and in New York. And my MSNBC colleagues, they will continue to produce great journalism in the years ahead.”

He ended his statement with a message to “those of you who have gotten into a habit of watching Hardball every night,” saying, “I hope you’re going to miss me because I’m going to miss you.”

He added, “So let’s not say goodbye, but ’til we meet again.”

Following the announcement, the network immediately went to a commercial break, The Washington Post reported. When the show returned, Steve Kornacki had replaced Matthews’ spot as the temporary host for Monday night’s broadcast.

“Chris Matthews is a giant, he’s a legend,” he said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s an honor for me to work with him, to sit in for him on occasion. I think you’re going to miss him, and I know I’m going to.”

A series of rotating hosts will sit in on Matthews’ 7 p.m. time slot until a permanent replacement is found, a spokesperson for MSNBC confirmed to PEOPLE.

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Matthews’ resignation comes just days after journalist Laura Bassett accused him of making inappropriate comments about her appearance when she was a guest on his program in 2016.

In an article published by GQ, she named Matthews as the “married cable-news host who inappropriately flirted with me in the makeup room a few times before we went live on his show, making me noticeably uncomfortable on air.”

“In 2016, right before I had to go on his show and talk about sexual-assault allegations against Donald Trump, Matthews looked over at me in the makeup chair next to him and said, ‘Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?'” she wrote. “When I laughed nervously and said nothing, he followed up to the makeup artist. ‘Keep putting makeup on her, I’ll fall in love with her.'”

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