OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Popular MSNBC host Rachel Maddow recently returned from her nearly two-month hiatus to reveal that she’s going to be taking more time off and only be on air once a week.
Maddow only hosting “The Rachel Maddow Show” once a week has failed to attract viewers, particularly in the critical demographic.
“MSNBC’s key 9 p.m. ET primetime weeknight slot has been mired in a ratings slump since The Rachel Maddow show shifted to a once-per-week format, according to Nielsen data. Since the start of the month, the left-leaning network has aired MSNBC Prime in the critical time slot four nights per week – with its star anchor Maddow taking the reins to host her show only on Mondays,” it was reported.
“That shift has coincided with a downturn in MSNBC’s primetime ratings – especially among viewers in a key advertising demographic. MSNBC Prime has averaged about 1.2 million viewers since its debut on May 3, down from the 1.7 million viewers Maddow averaged on her show before the shift to a once-per-week broadcast,” the report added.
“Among adults aged 25-54, a key segment for advertisers, “MSNBC Prime is averaging just 114,000 viewers per night. That number is a 47% decline from Maddow’s average of 214,000 prior to the change. Maddow’s once-per-week show has averaged about 2 million viewers since May 2, according to Nielsen data,” the report continued.
During a segment on her show last month, Maddow announced that starting in May, she will only host her show on the network once a week while she continues to work on “other projects.”
Essentially, Maddow is being paid $30 million per year and is only hosting her program once a week. And her show is tanking in the ratings, which is costing the network even more money.
Media critic Jeffrey McCall believes MSNBC executives are very worried about Maddow only hosting the show once a week and how the ratings have fallen off a cliff.
“MSNBC execs have to be concerned by this weak primetime showing. Maddow’s show has for a long time been a tent pole for MSNBC’s entire evening, delivering audiences for the 9 p.m. hour, but also boosting viewership in the hours before and after,” McCall said.
“With Trump out of office for almost a year and a half now, it is hard to generate ratings by raging about Trump. Further, with the multiple policy problems of the Biden administration, it is difficult to generate a left-leaning audience to watch the daily parade of bad news about inflation, crime, international turmoil, and so on, even when there is a left-of-center spin on those topics,” McCall said. “Those left-leaning viewers are choosing to just avoid news programming these days, even in venues that are sympathetic to the Biden administration.”
“Sensible viewers see more practical problems right in front of them every day in gas prices, inflation, sinking retirement accounts, baby formula shortages, and the list goes on,” McCall added.
Maddow announced back in February that she would be taking a hiatus.
“I’m going to take a little bit of time off from this show to go help with the movie. And also to work on a few other things that I have cooking with NBC right now, including a new podcast,” Maddow said.
“So just like late-night hosts sometimes go on hiatus in their shows, I’m going to go on hiatus for a little bit here from this show so I can work on some of those other projects,” she added. “In addition to the movie, the Bag-Man movie, and the podcast that I’m working on, the paperback of the Bag Man book is also coming out in just a few weeks, it’s coming out in April, and there’s an adaptation of a different book that I want to try to make for TV as well that I’ve just started working on. There’s all this stuff I’ve been working on that I want to… work some more on.”
Interestingly enough, MSNBC just hired former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, adding fuel to rumors that she could one day replace Maddow.