updated 4/23/2004 6:06:06 PM ET 2004-04-23T22:06:06

The “Hardball” anniversary week will feature influential guests who shape the political landscape, including an exclusive on-on-one interview with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld from his Pentagon office and an interview with Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy.  Other guests include journalists Lesley Stahl and Cokie Roberts, Marc Racicot, the Chairman of the Bush-Cheney Campaign, and comedians Jimmy Kimmel and Bill Maher.

The “Hardball” 7th Anniversary Week will highlight some of Matthews’s best interviews and memorable moments over the past seven years.  Each show will include tributes from celebrities and newsmakers including Donald Trump, Don Imus, Sen. John McCain, Karen Hughes, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Costas, Tucker Carlson, Regis Philbin, Kelly Ripa and a host of others who join in congratulating Chris Matthews and “Hardball.”

“When I wrote ‘Hardball’ in 1988, I never planned to be playing ‘Hardball’ every night on TV,” said Matthews. “I learn something new every night and I certainly hope the viewers do too.”

“Hardball with Chris Matthews” premiered on CNBC in 1997, and on MSNBC in 1999. It was telecast on both CNBC and MSNBC through July 2002. 

In addition to hosting “Hardball,” Matthews is the political and election anchor for MSNBC.  He is also an NBC News contributor including frequent appearances on the “Today” show. Matthews also anchors “The Chris Matthews Show,” a syndicated weekly news program produced by NBC News and distributed by NBC Enterprises. 

Matthews has been in journalism for 15 years and previously spent 15 years in politics. He has distinguished himself as a journalist, Washington bureau chief, Presidential speechwriter, congressional staffer and best-selling author. As a journalist, Matthews covered the opening of the Berlin Wall, the first all-races election in South Africa and the historic peace referendum in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  In 1997 and 1998, his digging in the National Archives produced a series of San Francisco Examiner scoops on the Nixon presidential tapes.  He has twice received the Washington Post’s “Crystal Ball” award for his successful predictions of US presidential elections.

Matthews is the author of four best-selling books, including “American: Beyond Our Grandest Notions” (2002), a New York Times best seller.  His first book, “Hardball” (1988) is required reading in many college-level political science courses.  “Kennedy & Nixon” (1996) was named by The Readers Digest “Today’s Best Non-fiction” and served as the basis of a documentary on the History Channel. In addition, Matthews worked for 15 years as a print journalist, 13 of them as Washington Bureau Chief for “The San Francisco Examiner” (1987 – 2000), and two years as a national columnist for “The San Francisco Chronicle,” which was syndicated to 200 newspapers by United Media.

Matthews spent 15 years in politics and government, working in the White House for four years under President Jimmy Carter as a Presidential speechwriter and on the Government Reorganization Project, in the U.S. Senate for five years on the staffs of Senator Frank Moss (Utah) and Senator Edmund Muskie (Maine), and as the top aide for Speaker of the House Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr. for six years.

A graduate of the College of Holy Cross, Mr. Matthews did graduate work in economics at the University of North Carolina and was a trade development advisor with the U.S. Peace Corps in the southern African nation of Swaziland.

Tammy Haddad is the Executive Producer of “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” Phil Griffin is Vice President, Primetime Programming.

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