August 12, 2022

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Alex Wagner succeeds Rachel Maddow at MSNBC

Alex Wagner succeeds Rachel Maddow at MSNBC

MSNBC has appointed Alex Wagner to succeed Rachel Maddow as weekday host of 9 p.m. four days a week, turning political news expert to fill one of the network’s hottest slots.

Ms. Wagner, 44, is a leading figure in the Washington press with roots in progressive news and opinion outlets. She worked for MSNBC as a daytime show host for several years, and rejoined the channel in February as a senior political analyst and prime-time guest broadcaster, serving as Mrs. Maddow and Chris Hayes.

In an interview, channel president Rashida Jones said Ms Wagner’s experience covering politics will be crucial as the network prepares to cover the fall midterm elections.

“This is not a show where we have our hair on fire and we’re screaming in front of each other, creating these fake moments of tension,” Ms Jones said. “I really want the takeaway from this show to be a better understanding of what’s going on in the world.”

MSNBC said Ms. Wagner is the only Asian American to host a prime-time cable news program.

Mrs. Maddow, MSNBC’s most famous host, come to an agreement Last year she downgraded her hosting duties at the channel. She will continue to host at 9 p.m. Monday, when the show will still be called “The Rachel Maddow Show.” Ms. Wagner will be hosting a show at that hour Tuesday through Friday starting August 16. The display name is not specified.

A major focus in the prime-time lineup, 9 p.m. is now just one part of a broader programming strategy that includes television, live broadcasts, podcasts and newsletters. MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN have launched video streaming services in recent years amid broader industry concern about the long-term erosion of cable channel viewers.

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But traditional television continues to dominate news networks despite the increasing focus on emerging formats. Advertising budgets have been slow to shift away from traditional television, and prime-time viewership remains a benchmark for success in an industry obsessed with ratings. Television distribution deals with cable companies like Comcast and Charter continue to be huge cash cows for cable news networks. CNN’s new owners killing Broadcasting service in April.

Ms Jones said MSNBC would look to build the network’s overall brand on a variety of different distribution platforms rather than focus on traditional television, approach This is echoed by Chris Licht, the new president of CNN.

“It’s no secret that audiences on cable are changing and changing rapidly,” said Ms. Jones. “A large portion of the audience still consumes MSNBC, but we were really focused on, ‘How do we take that deep connection and bring it to new places?”

Ms. Jones said MSNBC will explore opportunities with Ms. Wagner to appear on NBCUniversal’s streaming platforms, such as Peacock. Other MSNBC shows, including “Morning Joe” and “All In With Chris Hayes,” are already appearing on Peacock hours after they air on MSNBC.

Ms Jones said she had not consulted with Ms Maddow about her replacement. Ms. Jones said Ms. Wagner had been on a short list to host MSNBC at 9 p.m. for months, although she declined to provide details of the negotiations.

Ms. Wagner’s curvy career in journalism spanned print, digital and television outlets. Born in Washington, D.C., Mrs. Wagner he worked As a cultural correspondent for the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, and co-host of the Showtime political documentary series The Circus, and in The Atlantic.

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Ms. Wagner’s relationship with MSNBC goes back more than a decade. Beginning in 2011, she has hosted “Now with Alex Wagner,” a weekday opinion show. she was canceled In 2015, the network focused its daytime line-up more towards live news coverage and fewer opinions.

Ms. Wagner, a 1999 graduate of Brown University, is married to Sam Cass, a former White House chef who became close friends with Barack and Michelle Obama.