Phil Donahue on his 2003 MSNBC firing: "We had to have two conservatives on for every liberal. I was counted as two liberals."
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On the October 28 edition of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes, veteran talk show host Phil Donahue remarked on being fired from MSNBC in February 2003. As The New York Times reported at the time, when Donahue's MSNBC show, Donahue, was cancelled, "he was actually attracting more viewers than any other show on MSNBC."
SEAN HANNITY (co-host): What happened at MSNBC?
DONAHUE: Well, we were the only antiwar voice that had a show, and that, I think, made them very nervous. I mean, from the top down, they were just terrified. We had to have two conservatives on for every liberal. I was counted as two liberals.
HANNITY: You have the force of two liberals.
DONAHUE: I mean, you know, it's a shame, you know? Now, we were replaced by Michael Savage, and now they have Chuck [sic: Joe] Scarborough. And by the way, I wish them all well. A lot of the people who worked for me, incidentally, a wonderful crowd of very young, bright people who worked for me, some of whom have now matriculated to other programs on MSNBC. So I want them to do well, but I certainly wasn't -- it was a very, very unhappy time for me.
HANNITY: You felt mistreated? You felt mistreated?
DONAHUE: Well, we were very -- I was isolated, and we were very alone at the end. And then we had nobody supporting us, and our numbers were very decent. We weren't Elvis, but we were often the best number --
HANNITY: You were the highest-rated show on the network.
DONAHUE: Yes. And we were told to leave.