Chris Matthews (NBC Photo/© NBC UNIVERSAL, INC.)

Chris Matthews announced he’s ending his syndicated Sunday Beltway show, but continuing his MSNBC program “Hardball” under a new long-term contract with that network. The final “Chris Matthews Show” will air July 21.

Here’s Matthews’ statement. All of it:

 I want “Hardball” fans to know that I’m signing a long-term contract with MSNBC to carry on a show we started back in 1997 based on a book I wrote in 1988. To be perfectly truthful, I’d be doing what I do on the show — talking and arguing politics — for nothing even if it weren’t on the air. I think the viewer can tell I put all I’ve got out there Monday through Friday evenings.

The one adjustment I’m making is to pull back from the weekend “Chris Matthews Show.” There are limits to what I can do in a week. Henceforth, I intend to concentrate any time left over from “Hardball” on writing books like the one I’m committed to now on the relationship between Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan, that and producing documentaries on history and politics.

I’d like to salute the excellent work done by “The Chris Matthews Show” executive producer, the great Nancy Nathan. For more than a decade, she and her team have allowed me to offer great Sunday morning television. I have been proud of every program and the chance to interview some of the best journalists in this country, and, yes, to have them “tell me something I don’t know.”

I’ve been fortunate to have had a number of exciting jobs over the years: running a small business program in the Kingdom of Swaziland, Africa, with the Peace Corps; working for two influential US Senators, speechwriting for a President, serving as top aide to a legendary Speaker of the House, writing for the San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle from 1987 through 2002.

I had to quit my syndicated column for the Chronicle to start “The Chris Matthews Show.” There was a limit to what I could do in 2002, as there is now. I will miss having the weekend show just as I missed having the column, but I can’t do everything and still do what I have to do well.