Alex Wagner has been picked to succeed Rachel Maddow in Maddow’s lynchpin 9 p.m. time slot at MSNBC. Wagner, a political veteran who recently returned to MSNBC as a senior political analyst and guest anchor in February, will host a show Tuesday-Fridays, with Maddow to continue on Mondays.
The new show is set to debut August 16, just in time for the heat of the midterm elections.
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The New York Times, which broke the news Monday, said the Maddow-hosted show on Mondays will continue to to be titled The Rachel Maddow Show. A name for Wagner’s show is TBD.
— alexwagner (@alexwagner) June 27, 2022
“Alex Wagner in the 9pm hour was a clear choice. Her unique perspective—built on more than two decades in journalism—and tenacious reporting in the U.S. and abroad will help our audiences contextualize what matters,” said MSNBC President Rashida Jones. “I am looking forward to watching Alex thrive in MSNBC’s primetime lineup.”
“I’m honored to be anchoring a key hour of television in such a critical time for American democracy,” said Wagner. “In many ways, the stakes have never been higher, and there’s no better place to explore this moment than MSNBC. I’m thrilled to be coming home.”
Maddow, the network’s most watched star, signed a multi-year agreement with NBCUniversal and MSNBC last year, but she has said she planned to scale back her nightly schedule.
Earlier this year, Maddow took a hiatus from the The Rachel Maddow Show from early February to early April, saying she was taking a break to work on a movie version of her Bag Man podcast and other projects. At the time of her return, she said that there “may eventually be another hiatus again sometime in my future, but for now we’re just taking it one step at a time.”
When she returned, she announced she will go to a Monday-only schedule. Rotating hosts including Wagner have been filling in since then.
The network has been looking to stabilize the ratings of the high-profile slot, which have dropped with fill-in hosts. In the first quarter of this year, Rachel Maddow averaged 1.84 million viewers, compared to 3.6 million in the same period in 2021.
Wagner anchored Now with Alex Wagner as part of MSNBC’s daytime lineup from 2011-2015. She is currently a co-host on Showtime’s The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show On Earth. The David Nevins-led premium cabler is hoping to find a way to keep Wagner on board with Circus co-hosts John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon, and Jenn Palmier going forward, we hear. However, with the obvious demands of a nightly show now on Wagner’s shoulders, Showtime have no desire to stand in the anchor’s way in her new gig if an accommadation cannot be reached.
Wagner is also contributing writer at The Atlantic in addition to her current duties at MSNBC, where she is a senior political analyst and a guest anchor.
Wagner previously also was a special correspondent for CBS News and co-host of CBS This Morning: Saturday, a Huffington Post reporter, and served as White House correspondent for Politics Daily. She also had been executive director of the non profit Not On Our Watch.
Dominic Patten contributed to this report.
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