Look who Replaced Rachel Maddow

Alex Wagner will replace Rachel Maddow. And according to Wagner, she’s ready for her shot in prime-time. More on this in a bit.

Wagner formerly worked for MSNBC as one of its daytime hosts. She performed with the likes of, well Al Sharpton, Melissa Harris-Perry, David Shuster, to name a few. But now she returns to the airwaves to host four nights a week in the 9 p.m. time slot previously held by Rachel Maddow.

Maddow went on hiatus six months ago, and frankly I didn’t notice that she returned. However, she’s been back long enough to somehow hold on to one night of the week. Maddow will continue to host the 9 o’clock hour on Mondays. But MSNBC’s “top-rated host” will make this step-back a permanent one. As such, Maddow will reportedly focus on other projects at the outlet as Wagner’s show takes Maddow’s slot the rest of the week.

As mentioned earlier, Alex Wagner resigned from MSNBC in 2015 and Politico reported on her departure.

“She will write for The Atlantic, moderate events with AtlanticLIVE, and help to develop video and TV projects with The Atlantic Studios,” a statement from the company says. She starts this weekend, and will moderate a panel Saturday morning featuring Hope Solo, Connie Britton, and Senators Amy Klobuchar and Shelley Moore Capito.

As The Atlantic expands into TV and video, it is hoping that Wagner can help guide the company in its ventures there, which include documentaries, hosted programs and animated shorts.

You may have guessed, but not much came of Wagner’s guidance at The Atlantic. Thus, the return to MSNBC. So let’s look at her record of achievement with her former employer.

The article continues,

Wagner was a contributor at MSNBC for years, launching her own program, “Now with Alex Wagner,” in 2011. That show was canceled in July 2015 as MSNBC began to pivot its dayside strategy away from opinion programming, but Wagner was at the time promised a weekend program. That weekend show never came to fruition.

I can see why MSNBC raves about Wagner. And I can also see why Wagner would be a great replacement for Maddow.

Ahead of the debut of her new show, Wagner spoke with The Hill about her career, the state of the cable news industry and what viewers can expect from her “dream job,” which launches Tuesday.

Question: Why did you decide to come back to MSNBC, and what drew you back to cable news specifically after spending time in the streaming space and other projects?

Wagner: Who would not take this job? It’s an incredible platform. Rachel has done something incredible in the hour. There was no question I would come back when they offered it. I think my response was “yes, a thousand times yes.”

Commentary: After failing at The Atlantic, I didn’t have a lot of options?

Q: As you mentioned, Rachel Maddow built a loyal following in her time slot at MSNBC. Is the consensus that her viewers will keep watching in the same hour but just with a different host? Or is this the beginning of a new audience segment in prime time at MSNBC?

Wagner: Anybody would be misguided if they tried to replicate what Rachel does. This is going to be a different hour of television. It’s going to be an evolution. I’m not sure that we’re going to have the same long write-through to start the hour. I think you’re going to see more interview-focused segments, and I think you’ll see field segments as well. We’re going to bring in some new stuff that’s reflective of my career and strengths as a journalist. The best thing you can do is make a show that is reflective and true and authentic to you as a host.

Commentary: Replace what Maddow does? Her staccato presentation creates an hour-long show of drivel that could be done in 7 minutes.

Q: In your view, what does a successful prime-time show on cable news in 2022 look like, and what’s the job of its host? Is it to inform, to entertain, or some combination of both? 

Wagner: I don’t think it’s to entertain. I think of myself as a journalist first and foremost. My goal is to focus on issues that are urgent or important to the American public, and to present those stories in a truthful and accurate way. Woe be to anybody who thinks the job of a host is to entertain in these times. We are living in an extraordinary moment for American democracy. The stakes are extraordinarily high, and I take that responsibility very seriously.

Commentary: Is commentary necessary here? She thinks of herself as a journalist?! MSNBC hasn’t had journalists for decades. As for entertainment, MSNBC is better than SNL. Their hosts are universally lampooned routinely. Because they are the worst “journalists” on the planet.

Let’s see how long it takes before Wagner’s “best of” supercut hits YouTube. Here is Sharpton’s as a reminder.

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