Longtime journalist and TV show host Roland Martin signed off as host of TV One's "NewsOne Now" Thursday morning.
Going through his usual pre-show routine, Martin reviewed greeted his panelists and opened up Twitter from the iPad on the set. The show crew prepared the studio and settled in for the final two-hour newscast that they have grown familiar with over the past four years.
Earlier this month, there were reports TV One was cancelling the show due to budget cuts. Martin confirmed the shows suspension in a tweet.
“Fam, the sad news is true. The staff of @tvonetv #NewsOneNow was informed this afternoon that after four years of doing groundbreaking and award-winning work, the show will cease production at the end of the year," he said.
TV One CEO Alfred Liggins said in a statement that providing a platform for black voices "is in the DNA of our entire company."
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"We know there is a void in mainstream media and we plan to continue to be an outlet for Black news," he said. "Roland Martin will be a part of that plan.”
The news still comes as a disappointment to Martin, his staff, and most notably his viewers.
Martin, a two-time NAACP Image Award winner and frequent guest on MSNBC, told NBC News after his final show that though his show is ending, his time with TV One is not. He said his contract with the company ends August 2018, but that he saw this day coming and nothing lasts forever. He was always thinking of his next step.
"This is vital and I said this in 2013 when I won the NABJ Award for Journalist of The Year: Don’t be so consumed by the largest company on your business card. You need to grab the best opportunity," he said. "The opportunity matters, not the largest company on your business card."
Since Nov. 4, 2013, viewers have been waking up at 7 a.m. to watch Martin discuss topics relating to politics and the black community. With catch phrases like “Shelly, Go To My iPad” and “Bring The Funk,” Martin kept the audience engaged with his interactive live tweeting and outspoken demeanor.
This year alone the show saw numerous accomplishments, including two NAACP Image Award nominations for Outstanding News/Information and Outstanding Host in a Talk or News/Information.
The final show included reflections on memorable interviews over the years with notable people and celebrities including Hillary Clinton, Minister Louis Farrakhan, former Attorney General Eric Holder, and actress Kerry Washington. Rep. Maxine Waters D-Calif., was a special guest. Martin said the best part of the show over the years was including guests who would barely get airtime on other networks.
After the show, Martin was presented with a farewell cake as staff and production crew hugged him with tears in their eyes. Laura Doran, a technical director who has worked on the show since the beginning said she going to miss the message. A white woman, she said she learned a lot from watching his show and said his show was an important voice on Black America.
"Learning about the things I thought I knew and about the black experience in America....I’m sad to see that message go off the air," Doran told NBC News after the show and teary-eyed. "Just like how men stand up for women, white people need to stand up for black people."
During the segment "Roland Commentary," Martin said although his show is ending, he will continue making his voice heard via social media and live streams.
"This is what God has called me to do. This is my destiny this what I’m designed to do. Nobody has ever, ever silenced my voice. Oh I lost jobs before, I’ve been fired before," he said looking into the camera. "I will always stand y’all, for black people. I will always fight for black people. I will always defend black people and when black folks are wrong I will call them out."
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