It has been twelve days since Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show debuted. That is, basically, two weeks worth of shows, though it actually comes down to eight shows total given that last Friday, 12 September, Dr. Maddow’s show did not run, and this is going out before the 19 September show. How is she doing? Is this show a keeper?
While MSNBC has faced a great deal of backlash, mostly from FOX News, for having more center-left, liberal anchors, the gamble seems to be paying off. The Rachel Maddow Show has overtaken long running Larry King Live. According to the Huffington Post, the ratings for Maddow’ show on 18 September even surpassed that of Keith Olbermann’s Countdown. Both shows score very highly with the crucial 18-34 demographic. These numbers, of course, only reflect the
Neilson Ratings, and not the number of people who, like me, tune into both shows online every day. In fact, the number of people who watch Countdown online often means that Olbermann outstrips O’Reilly in terms of viewership, and the same may very well be true of The Rachel Maddow Show.
The Rachel Maddow Show does attempt to be fairly even in its guests and coverage, though Dr. Maddow makes no secrets of her political views. To date, few Republicans, and no one associated with the McCain/Palin campaign, have accepted her invitation to appear on the show. However, several members of the Obama/Biden ticket and several other Democrats have been guests. Some celebrities, most notably Bill Maher of the show Real Time, have appeared as well.
In the days leading up to the debut and after, MSNBC and Dr. Maddow were both attacked News Corp branches, all owned by Rupert Murddock. The New York Post ran stories about how Dr. Maddow’s appearance was going to be softened from her more masculine butch style to something more "appropriate" for the general television audience. Their implications where that, Maddow, an open lesbian, would appear more femme on her show than her norm. While her appearance is now a touch more feminine than it was before, the new look might fool anyone who is either not paying attention, of which I am guilty of since I listen to the TV more than watch it, or anyone with a sack over their head. MSNBC’s move towards the center-left to counter FOX News may be slowly gaining traction given the availability of their shows online in an easy to access manner, and their increasing popularity with the most key advertising demographics. This, of course, has caused many an attack on the network by FOX news pundits.
All in all, I expect that, with these ratings, The Rachel Maddow Show will continue to air for some time to come, a feat that no other show so far has managed to pull off. The show is often funny, and informative mixing hard news analasys, and weird news stories you may not normally find elsewhere. The Rachel Maddow Show runs on MSNBC during the 9 pm hour, and again at 11pm. A web version of the show is also available the next day at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/