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MSNBC below hearth over lack of Rachel Maddow succession plan as community has ‘no remotely comparable talents’

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MSNBC continues to take warmth on the heels of Rachel Maddow asserting she would considerably minimize her on-air schedule to concentrate on different tasks, leaving the progressive cable information outlet with out a dependable alternative for its money cow. 

Puck senior media correspondent and co-founder Dylan Byers scolded NBC Universal in a scathing Friday evening piece headlined, “The Maddow Iceberg,” which explored what’s happening at MSNBC and why management doesn’t appear to have a plan to switch its largest star. Byers, a former NBC News media reporter, identified his previous employer’s current piece on why Americans procrastinate on submitting their taxes had a glass-house really feel to it. 

MSNBC’s "The Rachel Maddow Show" struggled without its namesake host, but Rachel Maddow plans to scale back her workload. 

MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” struggled with out its namesake host, however Rachel Maddow plans to cut back her workload. 

“The gist, of course, was that such procrastination is absurd. Tax day is inevitable, so why does anyone wait until the 11th hour to deal with it? The same question might reasonably be asked of NBC’s handling of Rachel Maddow’s long-anticipated departure from her nightly MSNBC show,” Byers wrote. 


Maddow returned last week from a two-month hiatus that saw her show struggle as replacement hosts failed to maintain her audience, only to announce she would soon scale back her on-air duties once again and only anchor her program on Monday evenings. Maddow’s want to do much less on-air work was well-known, and Byers famous that she negotiated “the option to end her nightly show on April 30 and instead focus on other projects” when she signed a $30 million annual deal final 12 months. 

“Maddow isn’t just MSNBC’s biggest star—she is prime time. MSNBC relied on her as its sole ratings powerhouse because it had no remotely comparable talents, and because [NBCUniversal C.E.O. Jeff] Shell & Co. either believed the network couldn’t afford to lose her or because they didn’t want to be seen as the ones responsible for losing her,” Byers wrote. 

MSNBC continues to take heat on the heels of Rachel Maddow announcing she would cut 80% of her on-air schedule to focus on other projects, leaving the progressive cable news outlet without a reliable replacement for its cash cow.  (Photo by Virginia Sherwood/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

MSNBC continues to take warmth on the heels of Rachel Maddow asserting she would minimize 80% of her on-air schedule to concentrate on different tasks, leaving the progressive cable information outlet with out a dependable alternative for its money cow.  (Photo by Virginia Sherwood/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal through Getty Images)

“The overwhelming consensus in the building was that MSNBC had no bench—no heir apparent who could be groomed to take Maddow’s place and deliver comparable ratings. All of which is to say that Shell and his deputies Cesar Conde and Rashida Jones had about 200 days to come up with a post-Maddow strategy: a bold new hire to anchor the primetime lineup, or at least an internal promotion that, coupled with the right marketing strategy, might signal the next iteration of the avowedly liberal cable news network,” Byers wrote. “And yet, here we are.”

MSNBC doesn’t have a alternative for Maddow, and as a substitute will use a rotating panel of visitor hosts to anchor what Byers known as the “bland, talent-less title” of MSNBC Prime 4 days per week when Maddow is busy with different ventures. 


“The contingency plan, it seems, isn’t really much of a plan at all,” he wrote, including that Maddow’s staffers “got hit with a ton of bricks” once they realized they’d primarily concentrate on MSNBC’s 9 p.m. providing as a substitute of Maddow’s different tasks. MSNBC, in an announcement, insisted to Byers that Maddow “cares deeply about her staff and has been transparent about working through these issues thoughtfully” throughout the course of. 

“Whatever the case, this new structure is confounding on multiple levels, as the network presumably continues to attempt to articulate its post-Trump bold vision for what MSNBC is, other than a mash-up of Joe Scarborough & friends, NBC News and woke, self-righteous liberals living in the shadow of a former star who would rather not deal with the grind,” Byers wrote. 

Rachel Maddow plans to host her nightly MSNBC program only once per week starting next month.

Rachel Maddow plans to host her nightly MSNBC program solely as soon as per week beginning subsequent month.

During the primary quarter of 2022, MSNBC hemorrhaged an alarming portion of its viewers in comparison with the primary quarter of final 12 months, regardless of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine making a historic information cycle. MSNBC averaged 712,000 viewers, shedding 48% of its viewers in comparison with final 12 months.

MSNBC additionally misplaced 60% of its viewers among the many key information demographic of adults age 25-54, averaging solely 87,000 in comparison with 217,000 final 12 months. Byers, a veteran media reporter who has labored for CNN along with NBC, prompt MSNBC’s primetime lineup won’t even matter. 


“Maddow’s move to streaming projects and podcasts is indicative of where consumer interest is heading anyway: away from linear, appointment viewing and toward on-demand video and audio. If Maddow doesn’t want to stick around to fight the daily ratings game, why should MSNBC? It turns a profit simply by existing as a part of the cable bundle and reaping the sub fees. As I wrote in March, there’s no iron-clad law that cable news needs to be competitive (though it always has been). Hell, if the post-Maddow primetime lineup doesn’t work out, they could replace it with Shark Tank,” he wrote. 

Byers then cited a “high-level insider” at MSNBC who thinks the community is in serious trouble. 

“The existential threat for MSNBC is MSNBC itself. It’s a quickly shrinking iceberg,” the insider informed Byers. “I think [Shell] sees little value in a traditional cable anchor… and that may be the thing that melts the cable news iceberg faster than anything external.”

A former NBC News worker mentioned final week that Conde ought to lose his job for the way he dealt with the state of affairs.

“Cesar Conde should be fired for the embarrassing Maddow deal alone where she’s paid eight figures to barely work while MSNBC ratings crater. ‘Today’ show ratings are also abysmal— the worst in its history,” a former high-level worker of NBC News who’s accustomed to the corporate’s internal workings informed Fox News Digital.

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