Thursday, July 17, 2008

Is Maddow next in line for own MSNBC show?

So, when will Air America host Rachel Maddow ever get her own show on MSNBC?

A profile in the New York Times quotes new network President Phil Griffin as saying of Maddow, "At some point, I don’t know when, she should have a show. She’s on the short list. It’s a very short list. She’s at the top." Maddow appears frequently as a political analyst on MSNBC and substitutes for other hosts on the network, including Keith Olbermann.

From The Times:

"At some point, I don’t know when, she should have a show,” said Phil Griffin, hours before he was promoted on Wednesday to president of MSNBC. “She’s on the short list. It’s a very short list. She’s at the top."

At the moment every slot at night on MSNBC is taken, with David Gregory at 6P handing off to Chris Matthews at 7P, and with Dan Abrams at 9P following Mr. Olbermann at 8P. But some shuffling could be in the offing; Mr. Matthews’s contract, for example, is up next year.

For her part, Ms. Maddow, who has been a ubiquitous presence as a political analyst on MSNBC this campaign season, said she is ready whenever the call should come. To hasten that process, she recently hired Mr. Olbermann’s agent, Jean Sage.

"They know I would love to do it," Ms. Maddow, 35, said over a recent lunch below 30 Rockefeller Plaza. "I’m going to let them decide what they want to do about me. I’m saying yes every time they ask me to be on television."

6 comments:

Acme Data said...

Although I'd love to see her get a show, I'd rather she did something like a webcast so she doesn't have to feel the pressure of G.E. or any other big corporation that owns a commercial media outlet.

FSL said...

Acme, I share your concern. This is the same MSNBC that canceled Phil Donahue when he had the highest ratings numbers on the channel.

Secondly, if she gets a her own TV show, how likely will she be to continue her current radio gig with AAR? Some TV types (Hannity, Colmes, O'Reilly) also do radio but if Rachel is a hit on TV, will AAR be able to afford her?

On the plus side, if Maddow does leave, this would create an opportunity to move Lionel back to evenings. Lionel does a good show but up against Stephanie Miller he has not gotten any traction in station clearances. He did well in the evening before and might again.

If she does leave radio, that leaves AAR with only one successful entry: Hartmann. And Hartmann isn't AAR's show. It's produced by WYD Media (which also produces Stephanie Miller) and is distributed by Dial Global, pointedly, on the same satellite channel as Steph (as well as on AAR's satellite feed). Hartmann is not exactly locked in; when he signed with AAR, he kept one foot out the door.

NYLefty said...

Lionel has said he took a paycut when he left WOR for AAR because he didn't want to work evenings any more (becase of the toll it was taking on his private life).

I assume his contract guarantees that he will NOT have to work evenings.

James L. Greenlee said...

Rachel would be a natural fit for MSNBC, as long as she gets to keep her ideology. I say either pair her with a conservative, or alone with a clear acknowledgement of her politics. Nothing wrong with a show called From the Left with Rachel Maddow, right?

But if they water her down, or try to pass her off as "balanced," it will never work.

FSL said...

Welcome to radio: You either get up very, very early or work very, very late. Sometimes both.

I can imagine a 9 to 5 schedule would have been attractive to Lionel when AAR approached him.

Question is how long can AAR afford to keep the show going with so few clearances? (Same question applies to Ron Kuby.)

Maybe by now Lionel is thinking too much free time might not be a good thing either. Lionel doesn't have a tabloid trash TV show to fall back on, although he could always go back to practicing law.

FSL said...

Radaronline.com just did a poll of talk show producers. Most of the on-air hosts, according to the people who work with them, are flaming SOBs, but the poll found a few notable exceptions. One of them is our own Rachel Maddow:
Maddow, a Rhodes Scholar, has been a frequent stand-in for Keith Olbermann on Countdown of late—a change that's been met with open arms. "She's a lot more pleasant to work with than Keith, I'll tell you that much," says a current Olbermann staffer. Network brass seem to be taking note—she soon may have her own show. "She's funny, smart, hard-working, entertaining, and has no ego," continues the staffer. "How rare a combination is that?" Even a female producer at CNN, where Maddow made frequent appearances before signing an exclusive contract with MSNBC, is impressed. "Rachel's really, I just love her," she says. "Maybe if something has come of Hillary Clinton's run, it's that a woman in a male-dominated industry can be taken a little bit more fucking seriously."
Full poll results here:
http://www.radaronline.com/features/2008/07/hated_pundits_chris_matthews_keith_olbermann_bill_oreilly_an.php


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