The Rachel Maddow Show Coming Soon To A TV Near You

MSNBC announced today that Rachel Maddow will be getting her own show following Keith Olbermann’s Countdown. The program is scheduled to debut on September 8, 2008, just in time for the general election circus. This is a move long expected by insiders, or at least by me.

Maddow is one of the brightest stars in the cable news galaxy. She is insightful and courageous and elegantly articulate. Her show will help to fill a gap in the MSNBC line-up. Dan Abrams, whom Maddow will replace, has failed to capitalize on Olbermann’s lead-in. His show was more a collection of segments than a show, and it had no personality. Maddow, on the other hand, has the potential of creating a program that will build on its lead-in. She appeals to a young demo which MSNBC draws in large numbers. Countdown actually beats its competition, including the O’Reilly Factor, in the 18-49 demo. And Maddow will appeal to MSNBC’s core audience that recent surveys show leans Democratic by 2-to-1 (compared to Fox News’ 9-to-1 right leaning audience). Abrams was a political fence-sitter who couldn’t hold Olbermann’s viewers, but Maddow could make use of him for episodes of “Beat the Press” and commentary on legal stories (his work on Don Siegleman was the best on TV).

Success, however, is not guaranteed. First of all, we have not seen the show or its format. If they make the mistake of patterning it off of David Gregory’s “Race for the White House” it will be a huge disappointment. The last thing cable news needs is another descendant of the Crossfire genus of shouting matches that has already proved to be a failure. Secondly, she will air opposite Fox News’ popular “Hannity and Not Hannity,” and CNN’s Larry King. She will need to aggregate progressive, reality-based viewers from across the dial in order to compete. As I’ve previously noted, Fox News has cornered the market on right-wingers. Democrats and progressives are scattered across the grid. The key to success for Maddow (and for MSNBC overall) is to do a better job of pulling this audience together.

There will be a built in high interest for the debut week that will have to grab the viewers and make them instantaneously loyal. At the same time, she should expect to take some heat from the Foxian Culture Warriors like Bill O’Reilly, who has made bashing MSNBC, NBC, and Keith Olbermann, a sacrament of his demented faith. Rightist media is unlikely to welcome her into their club as the only woman anchoring a political show, and a lesbian at that.

Congratulations Rachel, and good luck.


9 thoughts on “The Rachel Maddow Show Coming Soon To A TV Near You

  1. Hot diggity damn! She’s my most favoritest. Now let’s keep our fingers crossed that she can get a format that doesn’t set her up for failure and a time slot where she can draw an audience.

    I get a giggle out of Olberman, and I suppose he has his place, but he’s not my idea of much of a journalist, and taken in anything other than small doses he can be just as annoying as his archnemesis he-who-must-not-be-named of Faux.

    Doing a happy dance.

    • I don’t think Olbermann or Maddow would describe themselves as journalists. They do news analysis and commentary. What I like about Olbermann is more about what he chooses to cover, much of which is not covered anywhere else.

      Today, for example, he reported on McCain’s remarks in his biography about how he sought the presidency only because he had an ambition to be president – not to do anything for the country. I haven’t seen anyone else report on that this week while McCain was accusing Obama of putting his ambition over country.

  2. I’ve only seen Rachel Maddow on guest appearances on The Today Show, but based on that, I can’t imagine her carrying a national news program. She has all the demeanor and professionalism of your local college newspaper reporter. Definitely, not ready for prime time. Poor MS/NBC, even going in the tank for Obama can’t keep this pathetic cable news operation competitive with anything on cable, save the World Fishing Channel, and I’m not sure the fishes don’t outdraw them already.

    • Well, if you haven’s seen Rachel guest host on Countdown, or seen her numerous appearances on several other shows, then you can hardly talk about whether she can carry a show. But then you don’t seem to care whether you know what you’re talking about or not. MSNBC is the fastest growing network in cable news, while Fox is steadily losing viewers. Them’s the facts!

  3. Glad to see MSNBC is doing this, only hope Rachel does not get overworked by staying on with Air America

    • Don’t worry. If O’Reilly, Hannity, Colmes, and Beck can do both TV and radio, then Rachel can do it – far better!

  4. MSNBC is the only thing that keeps my TV on at night. Keith Oberman, although sometimes coming across as bitter, is BRILLIANT in his analysis and Chris Matthews, who has lead to MSNBC’s success, presents politics with the enthusiasm and twinkle in the eye of our beloved late Tim Russert.
    Rachael Maddow will add to that mix with the intelligence of all these men… and she also shares that enthusiastic “twinkle” and love for politics. I will miss Dan Abrams as I feel his show was starting to find its mark and he really seems like a good guy (I was hoping there was room for ALL of them), but Rachael will be GREAT!
    I heard that Rachael was looking for a title for the show. I think the perfect title to use, to confront all the idiots at Fox and to really state what the show will be: “Rachael Maddow/Straight Talk” or “Straight Talk with Rachael Maddow”
    Rachael I wish you much good fortune in your new show… whatever you call it!

  5. I’m actually sorry to see this. Personally, I liked Dan Abrams. His problem, more than anything else, was he was fair. He made fun of both sides which, of course, turns off conservatives and liberals alike who want partisan talking heads to bolster their own biases.

    MSNBC has decided to copy Fox News. Let Fox News promote right-wing spin. MSNBC will take the role as liberal cheerleader.

    Half truths sell better than the truth it seems.

  6. my idea is this. Maccain is now hammering Obama, saying that”surge is working, Obama is wrong he has no good judgement”

    And many times Obama was asked if the surge worked.

    Obama has to refuse to answer the question until Maccain answer “why he sent the troops Iraq?” There was no chemical foud, Al qaida what was the reason? Maccain has to expaine to American People why about 4500 young Americans sucrifised.

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