Five Things to Know About Chris Matthews Replacement Steve Kornacki

After facing recent criticism over alleged sexual harassment and political bias, MSNBC host Chris Matthews abruptly announced his retirement on air Monday, leaving his colleague at the network Steve Kornacki to immediately replace him.

Matthews had recently been under fire for alleged sexism and sexual harassment. He was also criticized for his reporting on Senator Bernie Sanders, including a recent controversial incident where he compared the Jewish senator's win in the Nevada caucus to the invasion of France by Nazi Germany.

Matthews had been absent from the network for days but returned to make a brief announcement when he normally would have been opening his long-running show Hardball. He instead announced he was making his final appearance on the network, speaking for less than two minutes while citing his inappropriate "compliments" on the appearance of women and a desire to make way for the "younger generation" as reasons he was quitting.

Here are five things to know about Kornacki, who is expected to take the time slot of Matthews for the foreseeable future:

Kornacki Tried to Make It As a Game Show Contestant

After graduating from Boston College in 2001, Kornacki reportedly drove across the country to Los Angeles, California and attempted to support himself as a game show contestant. Shows he unsuccessfully tried out for included The Weakest Link and Win Ben Stein's Money.

Not long after his game show scheme failed, he landed his first full-time job as a reporter for a website focusing on politics in New Jersey.

Kornacki Has Filled in for Matthews Before

Kornacki he has filled in as the host of Hardball in the past, albeit in a temporary capacity. His most recent extended stint happened when Matthews was forced to be absent due to surgery for prostate cancer in October 2019.

Although it's unclear whether Kornacki will be a permanent replacement for Matthews, his experience on the network makes him an obvious choice to take over the time slot for the time being.

Kornacki Has Worked for MSNBC Since 2012

The 40-year-old Kornacki has extensive experience as a political reporter, having covered the topic as a staff writer for while also writing for a host of print outlets including The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal.

His association with MSNBC began in 2012, hosting shows like The Cycle and Up in his first years with the network. Since then he has worked in various roles for MSNBC and a political correspondent for NBC News.

Former MSNBC Star Keith Olbermann Trashed Him on a Podcast Last Year

Olbermann was the host of Countdown with Keith Olbermann, which was one of the MSNBC's biggest hits from the early 2000s until 2011, when he abruptly left the network and worked with Kornacki on the fledgling network Current TV. Olbermann had little kind to say about his former colleague during 2019's Texting Keith Olbermann podcast.

"He's one of the least grateful people," said Olbermann. "I started him in television. He was my backup guy at Current TV. He'd never done any TV and I was sort of bringing him along. And while he was doing that, he was negotiating with MSNBC. And now he has a show there."

Kornacki Has Also Authored a Book and Hosted a Podcast

Kornacki used his political knowledge to write the 2018 book The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism, which makes the case that the polarized state of American politics began in the 1990s with political battles between opponents like former President Bill Clinton and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

He also acted as host of Article II: Inside Impeachment, a podcast focused on the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

Steve Kornacki
NBC News political correspondent Steve Kornacki interviews Sen. Amy Klobuchar on stage at The Texas Tribune Festival on September 28, 2019 in Austin, Texas. Sergio Flores/Getty