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Rachel Maddow’s Potential Replacement on MSNBC Is a Very Familiar Face

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


MSNBC host Rachel Maddow is only hosting her primetime show once a week and the network is struggling to find a permanent replacement host as the program’s ratings have been tanking.

So who will fill the void?

Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki left the administration and joined MSNBC last month and the network said she was getting her own show.

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“Jen Psaki, former White House Press Secretary, will join MSNBC this fall, appearing across all the network’s programs on cable and streaming, MSNBC President Rashida Jones announced,” the network said.

“Psaki, a veteran former senior government official, and campaign advisor, will host a new original program currently under development for streaming. The program, set to debut in the first quarter of 2023, will bring together her unique perspective from behind the podium and her deep experience in the highest levels of government and presidential politics to MSNBC viewers. Psaki will also appear on NBC and during MSNBC’s primetime special election programming throughout the midterms and 2024 presidential election,” the statement added.

Back in February, the New York Post reported that MSNBC was aiming to hire Psaki.

Psaki, who has plans to leave the White House this year, is being courted by several news networks, including CNN and MSNBC, according to the newsletter Puck. A source told The Post that UTA super agent and co-president Jay Sures shopped the idea of Psaki as a potential cable news primetime host all over town, drumming up interest, before he signed her.

And perhaps more urgently for CNN and MSNBC, both networks are in need of new blood for their primetime shows. MSNBC lost its star anchor, Maddow, who has stepped away from her 9 p.m. ET show in order to pursue other projects.

Maddow recently returned from her nearly two-month hiatus to deliver some bad news to her die-hard liberal viewers.

Maddow revealed that she’s going to be taking more time off and only hosting her show one day per week.

Maddow only hosting “The Rachel Maddow Show” once a week has failed to attract viewers, particularly in the critical demographic.

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“Maddow, who makes roughly $30 million per year, announced that starting in May she would only host The Rachel Maddow Show once a week, on Mondays, so that she could focus on other projects. The coveted 9 p.m. ET timeslot that she’s long occupied now airs MSNBC Prime for the remainder of the week, with a rotating group of hosts at the helm,” Fox News reported.

During a segment on her show last month, the host 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.”

Since then, the ratings are abysmal.

Fox News reported:

Since “MSNBC Prime” debuted on May 3, it has averaged 1.2 million viewers, shedding 33% of the 1.7 million that Maddow pulled in from the beginning of the year through her first once-a-week edition.

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Things are even worse among the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults age 25-54, as “MSNBC Prime” has attracted only 114,000 average nightly viewers among the critical category for a 47% decline from the 214,000 that Maddow averaged through May 2.

By comparison, Fox News’ 9 p.m. ET timeslot competition, “Hannity,” has crushed “MSNBC Prime” by 252% among the key demo since MSNBC’s new program premiered.

This week’s edition of Maddow’s now-weekly show averaged only 160,000 viewers among the key demo on May 23. The alarmingly low turnout among viewers coveted by advertisers was down 30% compared to her May 16 episode and 42% compared to the May 9 edition.

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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 told Fox News.

“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.

“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.

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