Chris Matthews' On-Air Retirement Apparently Took Colleagues by Surprise as They Scrambled to Continue Show

Chris Matthews shocked the nation when he announced his retirement live on-air during Monday's Hardball with Chris Matthews. The news puts an end to his 20-year run as a mainstay in the political media landscape.

His decision apparently came as a surprise not just to the viewers, but to his co-workers. He did not inform those around him about what he was planning to do, including his co-host Steve Kornacki.

When Matthews made the decision to leave, it also was prompt as he did not finish out the hour-long program, leaving that to Kornacki.

When the show returned following Matthews' exit, Kornacki was front and center and still stunned.

"That was a lot to take in just now," he began. "I'm sure you're still absorbing that and I am too. Chris Matthews is a giant, a legend, it's been an honor for me to work with him to sit in here on occasion and I know how much you meant to him. I know how much he meant to you. I think you're going to miss him and I know I am going to, too."

He then searched for where the show would go next, telling the camera that they need to find something to fill in this hour.

When Matthews made the announcement, he mentioned that this wasn't due to a ratings issue or a "lack of interest in politics." The timing of his departure comes in the wake of him being in the middle of some controversial interactions, including a comparison between Bernie Sanders' campaign and the Nazi invasion on France. He also was under fire for how he pressed Elizabeth Warren after she said she sides with Michael Bloomberg's accuser during the Democratic presidential debate.


"I'm retiring," Matthews said. "This is the last Hardball on MSNBC. Obviously this isn't for a lack of interest in politics. As you can tell, I've loved every minute of my 20 years as host of Hardball... not many people have had this privilege."

Matthews made his television debut in 1994 when Hardball ran on the now-defunct America's Talking. The show then moved over to CNBC in 1997 and eventually MSNBC in 1999 where it remains.