We don’t cover politics or cable news on ScreenCrush very much, but once in a while a story is so much like something out of the movie Network that it deserves our attention.

Tonight, longtime MSNBC host Chris Matthews announced his retirement suddenly, in the middle of the evening’s broadcast of Hardball. He said that “after conversation with MSNBC” he’d decided tonight would be last the last episode. His explanation why pointed to “the younger generation’s out there, ready to take the reins. We see them in politics, in the media, and fighting for their causes,” and then segued into a discussion of proper workplace behavior. Without going into specifics, Matthews said that “compliments on a woman’s appearance that some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were okay, were never okay. Not then, and certainly not today.” He then apologized for “making such comments in the past.”

Matthews described the move as his “retirement,” although he also said he would continue to write and work. And that was that. NBC’s Steve Kornacki then took over the broadcast, looking a little shocked by the whole situation. “That was a lot to take in,” he noted, before adding “we do have to fill the rest of this hour.”

You can watch Chris Matthews’ retirement announcement here:

No replacement for Matthews as host of Hardball or whatever replaces it in the 7PM hour on MSNBC has been announced. The MSNBC website still lists Hardball with Chris Matthews every night this week.

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