Chris Matthews Signs New Long-Term Deal with MSNBC (Exclusive)

Chris Matthews - P 2011

The contract will keep him at "Hardball" through the next presidential election, but the 67-year-old will retire from his syndicated "Chris Matthews Show" in July.

Chris Matthews has re-upped with MSNBC, signing a new long-term deal that will keep him at the network into the next presidential election. But while he’ll stay put at 5 and 7 p.m. on MSNBC, the 67-year-old will retire from his syndicated Sunday show in July. 

In a lengthy statement, Matthews thanked Nancy Nathan, his executive producer of The Chris Matthews Show, which in many markets airs before NBC’s Meet the Press.

“For more than a decade, she and her team have allowed me to offer great Sunday morning television," wrote Matthews. "I have been proud of every program and the chance to interview some of the best journalists in this country, and, yes, to have them 'tell me something I don’t know.' ”

The final show will air July 21.

MSNBC president Phil Griffin, once Matthews’ producer on Hardball, called Matthews “an instituition. ”

“He’s as identified with this network as anyone,” Griffin told The Hollywood Reporter. “He’s our leadoff hitter. There’s nobody smarter about politics than Chris. He has what I think is so important to succeed in this business, particularly in cable. He lives, breathes and relishes everything about politics. His enthusiasm and his passion and how he gets angry over it is all what makes him so good.”

Matthews added: “To be perfectly truthful, I’d be doing what I do on the show – talking and arguing politics – for nothing even if it weren’t on the air. I think the viewer can tell I put all I’ve got out there Monday through Friday evenings.”

The new deal likely means Matthews, who has flirted with running for office in Pennsylvania, has given up on that. He will continue to write books; he’s working on a nonfiction tome about the relationship between Republican president Ronald Reagan and Democratic speaker Tip O’Neill