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.
Interesting to see if a woman will do well in that time slot.
— CPanther95 (@CPanther95) June 28, 2022
Will anyone notice?
— *****jerZboyMediaUSA/STILL SHADOWBANNED**** (@jerZboyUSA) June 28, 2022
MSNBC is still in business?
— richard (@rm1737) June 28, 2022
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.
So dragging the dregs up to find someone to be an onair personality. Justice!
— David Graham (@TDGRIM1) June 28, 2022
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.
That’s like fishing in the gutter.
— David Newland (@DavidNewlandde) June 27, 2022
“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.”
They have no credible bench.
— Randall Thursby (@RandallThursby) June 27, 2022
It’s a horrible network with bottom of the barrel talent
— Mapicc (@Mapicc3) June 27, 2022
So the seven viewers of MSNBCU#T may trickle down to five? Only the ladies of The View watch that network.
— John Anello (@JohnAnello333) June 27, 2022
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.
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