After weeks of rumors that sparked a flurry of online debate, MSNBC confirmed on Tuesday that it has hired the Rev. Al Sharpton to host its 6 00 p.m. hour with a talk show to be called PoliticsNation. When the show debuts next Monday, it will become the only one in primetime with a black leading personality. In a statement, MSNBC said that Sharpton will "lead a lively and informed discussion of the top headlines, bringing viewers his take on events in his signature style." In his own statement, Sharpton seized on the channel's current "Lean Forward" slogan. "We all learn from our pain and stand up from our stumbling and one must either learn to lean forward or fall backwards. I'm glad they have given me the opportunity to continue my forward lean," he said. In recent weeks, some critics had complained that Sharpton's appointment was a pay-off Comcast for his decision to back its takeover of NBC Universal, which owns MSNBC. Comcast insisted at the time, however, that it had pledged not to interfere with the news operations of MSNBC, or its parent, NBC News.