Rachel Maddow’s Potential Replacement Could Be Jen Psaki


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow has only been hosting her program once a week while her struggling network searches for her replacement after she announced recently she was stepping away from the limelight.

Who was slated to replace her permanently, however, has not been known — until now. And it may be a familiar face to most Americans.

Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki left the administration and joined MSNBC last month and the network said she was getting her own show.

“Jen Psaki, former White House Press Secretary, will join MSNBC this fall, appearing across all the network’s programs on cable and streaming, MSNBC President Rashida Jones announced,” said the network in a release.

“Psaki, a veteran former senior government official, and campaign advisor, will host a new original program currently under development for streaming. The program, set to debut in the first quarter of 2023, will bring together her unique perspective from behind the podium and her deep experience in the highest levels of government and presidential politics to MSNBC viewers. Psaki will also appear on NBC and during MSNBC’s primetime special election programming throughout the midterms and 2024 presidential election,” the statement noted further.


As for the network in general, by all measures, it is in trouble in terms of viewership.

Fox News, the cable news leader, reported last week:

MSNBC finished May with its smallest monthly audience among the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults age 25-54 since November 1999, and its lowest-rated month among the demo in primetime since May 2004, as Rachel Maddow’s reduced schedule continues to harm the network. 

“Record-low ratings going back to 1999 is almost always a bad sign seeing as how they were then a fledgling network and far less ubiquitous in our body politic,” NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck told Fox News Digital about MSNBC, which launched in 1996.

Houck believes that today, liberals have a number of options when looking to “be spoon-fed their talking points” but MSNBC honchos “need to figure something out unless NBCUniversal is content with perpetually rearranging deck chairs on their version of The Titanic.”

The report added:

Viewers between ages 25-54, who are considered young enough to change habits and buy new products or services, but old enough to have disposable incomes, are the group that advertisers largely seek to reach with commercials. MSNBC has struggled to attract viewers from this coveted group since President Biden took office, and the progressive network averaged only 70,000 demo viewers during the month of May compared to 229,000 for Fox News Channel.

MSNBC shed 24% of its demo viewers compared to May 2021, while Fox News gained 23% over the same time period. 


CNN, which has a variety of ratings problems itself and also lost 19% since last year, even managed 106,000 demo viewers during the month of May to crush MSNBC. Americans were preparing for the potential Y2K bug as the year 2000 was only one month away the last time MSNBC had a smaller audience among the group coveted by advertisers. 

MSNBC’s primetime lineup of “All in with Chris Hayes,” “MSNBC Prime,” “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” and, once a week, “The Rachel Maddow Show,” garnered only 105,000 demo viewers compared to 351,000 for Fox News and 150,000 for CNN. At some point along the way, MSNBC lost a staggering 32 percent of its primetime audience since May 2021.

Adding to the network’s woes, despite a month of breaking and top news stories that included major primary elections, mass shootings, and Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, MSNBC lost out to FX, Bravo, Paramount TV Land, ESPN2, Freeform, Lifetime and Hallmark among the primetime demo.

Maddow, who is paid around $30 million per year, had announced earlier this year that she was scaling back her hosting duties at “The Rachel Maddow Show” to just once per week — Monday evenings — in order to focus on other projects.

Fox noted:

“The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” was MSNBC’s second most-popular show among viewers between ages 25-54, but it finished No. 25 in cable news and was outdrawn by 16 different Fox News programs. “The Last Word” even lost to eight different CNN programs, including long-struggling shows such as “Don Lemon Tonight.” 

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