MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow replacement baffles insiders: ‘Like fishing in the gutter’

With MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow only doing one show a week, MSNBC has been scrambling for a replacement to handle the other four days, inexplicably settling on a previously canceled host named Alex Wagner whom no one knows, or watches.

Insiders are scratching their heads over why the leftist network would put someone in that time slot who “never moved the needle on television.”

Wagner, a frequent guest on Maddow’s show, will be hosting the 9 p.m. EST time slot “MSNBC Prime” Tuesday through Friday starting in August. Whether anyone will tune in is another question. The network’s ratings are already in the tank, which almost assuredly won’t help with that dilemma.

MSNBC had the smallest audience among the coveted demographic of adults aged 25-54 since 2003 as it finished its second quarter this year. The nearly two-decade low in ratings was achieved even as news events were neverending, including the Ukrainian war with Russia, the Uvalde mass shooting, and the propagandized and heavily touted Jan. 6 inquisition hearings.

Maddow has cut back her workload to once a week leaving the network in an even worse position. She now hosts “The Rachel Maddow Show” on Monday nights.

“Clearly there’s no institutional memory at NBC,” a former high-level NBC News staffer sarcastically told Fox News Digital referring to Wagner being previously canceled.

“Alex Wagner’s 4 p.m. show there was a disaster both in ratings and behind the scenes where it was known for chaotic management,” the former staffer added. “The show was canceled, and she left and ended up at The Atlantic. That doesn’t happen if you’re a success in cable news.”

MSNBC canceled Wagner’s show “Now” in 2015 after four years on-air. They claimed it was due to program reshuffling but there is little doubt that ratings played a part in ditching the program.

The show only averaged 384,000 total viewers and only 55,000 among the demo in its final month getting clobbered by Fox News at 4 p.m. ET by 218% in both categories.

Wagner was also canceled in 2016 when the network nixed a weekend show she was set to launch after MSNBC previously announced the program. That’s when she crawled over to The Atlantic with her tail between her legs, becoming a senior editor at the media outlet.

She was not a ratings draw on Showtime’s political documentary series, “The Circus,” either.

This year, MSNBC’s primetime lineup has lost 23 percent of its total viewers and 40 percent among its key demo compared to 2021.

“I’m sure Alex Wagner is a fine permanent host for the four days Rachel Maddow won’t be in the chair, but that’s sort of the problem – the bizarre arrangement where Rachel Maddow hosts a weekly show that also happens to be a weekday primetime hour seems entirely untenable,” Fourth Watch editor Steve Krakauer, a former CNN producer, told Fox News Digital.

“By structuring the hour this way, MSNBC isn’t giving its audience the host it craves for more than 20% of the week while hampering Wagner or whoever got the job from being able to fully establish the hour for themselves,” he remarked.

Krakauer definitely has his doubts about the arrangement.

“One day of Maddow is better than zero,” he contended. “But in this current set-up, I can’t imagine how anyone outside of a big-name hire will be able to establish themselves enough to make a ratings impact. Outside of Trump beginning his 2024 campaign this weekend, I don’t see a way for MSNBC to regain its primetime ratings unless Maddow decides to re-engage with the network, or leaves entirely and allows them to rebuild from the ground up.”

Puck’s Dylan Byers, who is a former NBC reporter, charged that MSNBC management has been prudent to “manage expectations” for Wagner. He commented that selecting Wagner to replace Maddow “appears to reflect the limited cards at MSNBC’s disposal.”

“Wagner has never moved the needle on television,” Byers posited. “Perhaps she finds a way to break through the noise; perhaps MSNBC drifts into irrelevance while being managed for profitability.”

Byers suspects that politics has something to do with this and vaguely noted that NBCUniversal News Group chairman Cesar Conde might be aiming to make friends in high places.

The contention may be tied to the fact that in 2014, Wagner married then-White House chef Sam Kass in an elaborate ceremony that was attended by former President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Sasha and Malia.

“Conde must be hoping this will give him some social cache with Michelle Obama because otherwise, this hire is nonsensical,” Byers concluded.

Get the latest BPR news delivered free to your inbox daily. SIGN UP HERE


Please help us! If you are fed up with letting radical big tech execs, phony fact-checkers, tyrannical liberals and a lying mainstream media have unprecedented power over your news please consider making a donation to BPR to help us fight them. Now is the time. Truth has never been more critical!

Success! Thank you for donating. Please share BPR content to help combat the lies.


We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please click the ∨ icon below and to the right of that comment. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.

PLEASE JOIN OUR NEW COMMENT SYSTEM! We love hearing from our readers and invite you to join us for feedback and great conversation. If you've commented with us before, we'll need you to re-input your email address for this. The public will not see it and we do not share it.

Latest Articles