Rachel Maddow, who was on hiatus for weeks, returned to MSNBC last night in one of the most significant shakeups of cable news.
But, it seems that the appearance is short-lived. Maddow revealed on her program that she would soon become a weekly host and will only appear on Mondays.
Maddow, who was hosting MSNBC’s five-day-per-week show, will begin to reduce her duties. This includes hosting Mondays only, which she announced this evening to viewers. After signing a new pact at NBCUniversal, Maddow will be changing her schedule to give her a greater control over a wider range of projects including films and podcasts.
”I do still have all these other irons in the fire, all these other things I’m working on that I want to bring to fruition, none of them are fast, all of them take a long time, and I’m still working on all of them,” Maddow said on her MSNBC program Monday evening. After returning to MSNBC after a week-long break, Maddow spoke about some new content she was working on.
Rachel Maddow Show is the most successful program on MSNBC, garnering the most viewers on the network total and among the 25-54 demographic according to last week’s ratings. She was the most successful anchor of the network every week, even when she was away for a few weeks.
MSNBC changed its focus from being run by more blue-collar Democrats in the early years (Ed Shultz or Chris Matthews), and began to employ more academic anchors. Maddow led the transition and was made the face of the channel. Her influence gave Chris Hayes a platform and initially led to Ronan Farrow’s brief stint on the network (though his show was short-lived, his career as a journalist has continued on to make his one of the most feared names in the industry among Hollywood elites).
Maddow seems poised to take over as the brand manager for the network. While podcasts and films will continue to be a part of Maddow’s growing portfolio, this will also mean that MSNBC will face a problem short-term in replacing her. She is the network’s draw, and with her formally announcing she won’t be back full-time, the network has to find some sort of journalistic star power to replace her. There are few options.
While Chris Hayes would be able to move into this spot, that only opens up Chris Hayes’ current time slot. This is Maddow’s second-best. They would have to replace Hayes with someone who is viable if that was the case. And, given the network’s partisan lean, it’s not clear that Hayes would be a natural choice. MSNBC’s executives may be considering a woman or a woman with color to replace Hayes, just as the Biden Administration narrowed the potential Supreme Court Justices.
Replacing Maddow’s spot is a big job, too. Maddow’s replacement was an enormous task. Her style combined a passionate partisan and academic. Even though her monologues sometimes bordered upon the conspiratorial in places, her ability to retain her audience throughout was objectively admirable. The author of the monologues, she was a master at keeping her audience engaged throughout. VarietyPiece notes: Even Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, have said they admire her style, even though the politics she advocates are incorrect.
MSNBC looks like it will continue to rotate guest hosts on that slot until a permanent replacement is found. But they don’t have a clear successor, and if they want to hold on to her audience, they’ll need to find one.