MSNBC’S Chris Hayes lands prime time show: Strong Chicago connections

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WASHINGTON–Chris Hayes, tapped Thursday to host a prime time MSNBC show, has strong Chicago connections; his father-in-law is Andy Shaw, the President and CEO of the Better Government Association and longtime Chicago print and television reporter.

Hayes started his writing career in Chicago–the path that eventually led him to The Nation and MSNBC, where he has been hosting “Up w/Chris Hayes” on the weekend. Hayes will take over the 8 p.m. hour on MSNBC on April 1.

Hayes is married to Shaw’s daughter, Kate. The couple met while students at Brown University and moved to Chicago, where Kate attended Northwestern Law School.

At that time, Hayes was not yet a journalist. He was “more of a theater rat,” Shaw told me on Thursday.

When Hayes wanted to launch a writing career, Shaw connected him to the Chicago Reader, where he started as a freelancer. He began to get more interested in politics and went on to write for an assortment of liberal publications, Shaw said, including “Mother Jones” and “In These Times.” The couple lived in Humboldt Park and Ukrainian Village.

After Kate Shaw finished law school, the couple moved to Washington when she served as a law clerk to now former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. After the election of President Barack Obama, she served two years in the White House as an associate counsel.

Hayes starting working for “The Nation” in Washington, giving him a platform for television guest hits. Over at MSNBC, “he and Rachel Maddow really hit it off,” Shaw said, “and Rachel became his mentor.”

After guest shots and guest host stints, Hayes landed his weekend gig–and now is promoted to prime time.

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