After a nearly two months hiatus, MSNBC show host Rachel Maddow returned to the network with some bad news for her devoted liberal viewers.
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Maddow revealed on Monday that she will take more time off and will only be hosting and airing her show, “The Rachel Maddow Show,” just one day per week. However, Maddow failed to address the real elephant in the room since she decided to do the show so infrequently.
According to Fox News, the once weekly “Rachel Maddow Show” has struggled to attract viewers, particularly among the key demographic.
“Maddow, who makes roughly $30 million per year, announced that starting in May she would only host The Rachel Maddow Show once a week, on Mondays, so that she could focus on other projects. The coveted 9 p.m. ET timeslot that she’s long occupied now airs MSNBC Prime for the remainder of the week, with a rotating group of hosts at the helm,” Fox News reported.
At the end of a segment on her show last month, Maddow announced that starting from May, her show on the network will only air once a week while she continues to work on “other projects.”
According to the Philadelphia Reporter, this agreement is “part of a new contract she signed with the network that will allow her time to work on other projects for MSNBC and NBC, including a film version of her award-winning podcast Bag Man, directed by Ben Stiller.”
Following this change to the show’s programming, the ratings quickly deteriorated to a point where they are now abysmal — a far cry from the ratings she used to enjoy from her dedicated liberal demographic.
At the time the scheduling announcement was originally made, the Philadelphia Reporter previously referred to the change as “the end of an era for MSNBC, where Maddow has hosted her popular show for nearly 14 years.” The news outlet added that “It has grown into the most-watched program on the network, regularly drawing more than 2 million viewers, going toe-to-toe on most nights with Fox News host Sean Hannity (CNN remains a distant third). Not surprisingly, ratings dipped during Maddow’s hiatus earlier this year,” the report noted.
Fox News reported:
Since “MSNBC Prime” debuted on May 3, it has averaged 1.2 million viewers, shedding 33% of the 1.7 million that Maddow pulled in from the beginning of the year through her first once-a-week edition.
Things are even worse among the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults age 25-54, as “MSNBC Prime” has attracted only 114,000 average nightly viewers among the critical category for a 47% decline from the 214,000 that Maddow averaged through May 2.
By comparison, Fox News’ 9 p.m. ET timeslot competition, “Hannity,” has crushed “MSNBC Prime” by 252% among the key demo since MSNBC’s new program premiered.
This week’s edition of Maddow’s now-weekly show averaged only 160,000 viewers among the key demo on May 23. The alarmingly low turnout among viewers coveted by advertisers was down 30% compared to her May 16 episode and 42% compared to the May 9 edition.
While viewers haven’t been paying any attention to the return of Rachel Maddow, network executives have been watching the ratings closely and are very concerned, according to media critic Jeffrey McCall who believes that Maddow only hosting the show once a week has caused ratings to fall off a cliff.
“MSNBC execs have to be concerned by this weak primetime showing. Maddow’s show has for a long time been a tent pole for MSNBC’s entire evening, delivering audiences for the 9 p.m. hour, but also boosting viewership in the hours before and after,” McCall told Fox News.
“With Trump out of office for almost a year and a half now, it is hard to generate ratings by raging about Trump. Further, with the multiple policy problems of the Biden administration, it is difficult to generate a left-leaning audience to watch the daily parade of bad news about inflation, crime, international turmoil, and so on, even when there is a left of center spin on those topics,” McCall said. “Those left-leaning viewers are choosing to just avoid news programming these days, even in venues that are sympathetic to the Biden administration.”
“Sensible viewers see more practical problems right in front of them every day in gas prices, inflation, sinking retirement accounts, baby formula shortages, and the list goes on,” McCall added.
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In February, Maddow made the announcement that she would be taking a hiatus.
“I’m going to take a little bit of time off from this show to go help with the movie. And also to work on a few other things that I have cooking with NBC right now, including a new podcast,” Maddow said.
“So just like late-night hosts sometimes go on hiatus in their shows, I’m going to go on hiatus for a little bit here from this show so I can work on some of those other projects,” she added. “In addition to the movie, the Bag-Man movie, and the podcast that I’m working on, the paperback of the Bag Man book is also coming out in just a few weeks, it’s coming out in April, and there’s an adaptation of a different book that I want to try to make for TV as well that I’ve just started working on. There’s all this stuff I’ve been working on that I want to… work some more on.”