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MSNBC chief: No decision on Pat Buchanan’s return

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PASADENA, CALIF. (AP) - MSNBC's top executive said Saturday that he hasn't decided whether conservative commentator and author Pat Buchanan will be allowed back on the network.

Buchanan, a former GOP presidential candidate and a paid MSNBC contributor, hasn't been on the network since the publication of his book "Suicide of a Superpower" last October. The book has chapters titled "The End of White America" and "The Death of Christian America" and its author argues that the United States is in the "Indian summer of our civilization."

"When Pat was on his book tour, because of the content of the book, I didn't think it should be part of the national dialogue much less part of the dialogue on MSNBC," said MSNBC President Phil Griffin. The minority advocacy group Color of Change has circulated a petition urging MSNBC to fire Buchanan.

Buchanan did appear for an interview about his book in October on Fox News Channel's "Hannity," where host Sean Hannity said, "welcome out of exile."

Griffin would not discuss the length of Buchanan's contract with MSNBC or whether it would be renewed.

The conservative firebrand has seemed increasingly out of place on a network that has emphasized a liberal viewpoint on many of its programs in recent years. Last August, Buchanan went on "Morning Joe" to explain that he wasn't trying to slur President Barack Obama by referring to him as "your boy" during an on-air discussion with talk show host Al Sharpton.

Meanwhile, "Morning Joe" hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski acknowledged at a news conference Saturday that they considered offers from other networks in recent months, including CBS, which is launching a new morning show on Monday. Former "Morning Joe" producer Chris Licht is producing the new CBS show.

Scarborough said they concluded that they couldn't duplicate their show on broadcast television, specifically the lengthy interviews.

"We knew from the beginning that we had a great home at MSNBC that Phil had set up for us," Scarborough said. The three-hour weekday morning show begins at 6 a.m.

Griffin said MSNBC plans to tweak rivals Sunday with a newspaper ad that argues "there are many imitators, but there's only one `Morning Joe.'" It's timed to appear the day before CBS' show premieres and a week after CNN began its own new morning show with Soledad O'Brien.

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