TV Crush

Rachel Maddow Rocks MSNBC Ratings

10/20/2008 4:03 PM

We’re all about the Rachel Maddow love in my Marin County ‘hood.  Rachel’s new talk show on MSNBC is already generating chatter. "Rachel has a great smile and sense of humor," says my neighbor Ron, who started out listening to Rachel on Air America. "That’s the one thing Olbermann is missing.  He’s a little harsh sometimes."

When my husband is away on business, he catches up with Rachel on-line where much of the show’s content is posted.

And isn’t that cute?  We call her Rachel, not Maddow.

She’s progressive but respectful (even warm), tough without being abrasive.  And never, ever angry.  Her guest roster is already impressive - from Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman to Melissa Harris-Lacewell (Associate Professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton) and filmmaker Oliver Stone. 

Her show is outpacing Larry King Live, according to NYT Brian Stelter.

…..More important for her bosses at MSNBC is that “The Rachel Maddow Show,” her left-leaning news and commentary program, has averaged a higher rating among 25- to 54-year-olds than “Larry King Live” on CNN for 13 of the 25 nights she has been host. While the average total audience of her program remains slightly smaller than that of Mr. King’s, Ms. Maddow, 35, has made MSNBC competitive in that time slot for the first time in a decade. The channel at that hour has an average viewership of 1.7 million since she started on Sept. 8, compared with 800,000 before.

Given that advertising dollars — and the reputations of networks — rise and fall on prime-time ratings, Ms. Maddow’s rise has been closely watched by media executives.

“I’m pinching myself,” said Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC, who used to caution that it “takes two or three years for a show to find its audience….."

For a taste of Rachel, here’s a sampling:  a fun interview with The Daily Show’s "fake expert" John Hodgman.

Rachel, in one of her tougher moments, challenging a conservative pundit on the topic of false equivalency (an issue near and dear to my heart).

September