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.
Since then, Maddow has returned to the network on a new schedule. Instead of going on air every weeknight, she’s only hosting her show one night per week to make time for other projects.
Maddow only hosts her own show on Mondays and Alex Wagner was named the permanent host of the 9 PM ET show on Tuesday through Friday nights.
The “Maddow experiment” apparently has “executives worried” as the show’s ratings have plummeted.
Fox News reported:
“Alex Wagner Tonight” has averaged 1.6 million viewers through two weeks compared to 2.6 million for “The Rachel Maddow Show” when it aired on Mondays during that two-week span, as Wagner shed over 30% of Maddow’s audience. Maddow also pulled in 241,000 viewers from the advertiser-coveted 25-to-54 age demographic during that time, compared to only 163,000 for Wagner.
Wagner’s premiere on Tuesday, Aug. 16, landed two million viewers, making it MSNBC’s most-watched show that day. But on Friday, Aug. 26, the “Alex Wagner Tonight” audience dipped to 1.43 million, ranking below three other MSNBC programs as the new program has lost significant viewership after only eight episodes.
Additionally, Wagner lost nearly 40% of viewers in the key demo, going from 183,000 in her debut to 112,000 in last Friday’s broadcast, falling from first to seventh among MSNBC offerings.
Wagner averaged 1.6 million viewers during her second week on the job, while “Hannity,” her 9 p.m. ET time slot competition on Fox News Channel, brought in 2.8 million average viewers.
Rachel Maddow’s success was based on one thing, lying about Trump. Other then that she would have been just another left wing nobody and the current ratings prove it.https://t.co/8bRPubb8dz
— Claude Navarre (@ClaudeNavarre1) September 20, 2022
@MSNBC shd have offered it to Ali V.
Wagner’s MSNBC’s total viewership for the hour dropped 15% fr 2M viewers the week prior to 1.73M viewers according to Nielsen. The show dropped steeper 23% in the key news demo fr 214K viewers for the wk before to 164K.https://t.co/YLnzwmh1oS
— 🌊🧜♀️ⓣ😎ⓝⓘ🧚🏻♀️🌊 (@thatgirlinsb) September 20, 2022
Maddow announced to viewers a few months ago that 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.