MSNBC has named Alex Wagner to succeed Rachel Maddow because the weekday host of its 9 p.m. hour 4 days every week, turning to a political information veteran to fill one of many community’s most essential time slots.
Ms. Wagner, 44, is a fixture of Washington journalism with roots in progressive information and opinion retailers. She labored for MSNBC as a number of a daytime present for a number of years, and rejoined the channel in February as a senior political analyst and guest-anchor throughout prime time, filling in for Ms. Maddow and Chris Hayes.
In an interview, Rashida Jones, the channel’s president, mentioned that Ms. Wagner’s expertise overlaying politics could be essential because the community prepares to cowl this fall’s midterm elections.
“This isn’t a present the place our hair is on hearth and we’re yelling previous one another, and we’re creating these manufactured moments of stress,” Ms. Jones mentioned. “I actually need the takeaway from this present to be a greater understanding of what’s taking place on the earth.”
MSNBC mentioned Ms. Wagner is the one Asian American to host a prime-time cable information program.
Ms. Maddow, MSNBC’s hottest host, reached a deal final yr that scaled again her internet hosting duties on the channel. She’s going to proceed to host the 9 p.m. hour on Mondays, when the present will nonetheless be referred to as “The Rachel Maddow Present.” Ms. Wagner will host a present in that hour Tuesday by means of Friday starting Aug. 16. The identify of her present has not been determined.
The 9 p.m. hour, a linchpin of the prime-time lineup, is now only one a part of a broader programming technique that features TV, streaming, podcasts and newsletters. MSNBC, Fox Information and CNN all launched video-streaming companies in recent times amid broader business nervousness in regards to the long-term erosion of cable TV viewership.
However conventional TV continues to carry sway amongst cable information networks regardless of the rising emphasis on rising codecs. Advert budgets have been sluggish to shift away from conventional TV, and prime-time viewership remains to be a benchmark for achievement in a ratings-obsessed business. TV distribution offers with cable firms like Comcast and Constitution are nonetheless large money cows for cable information networks. CNN’s new homeowners killed its streaming service in April.
Ms. Jones mentioned that MSNBC would look to construct the community’s total model on quite a lot of totally different distribution platforms somewhat than concentrate on conventional TV, an method that has been echoed by Chris Licht, the brand new chairman of CNN.
“It’s no secret that the audiences on cable are altering, and altering shortly,” Ms. Jones mentioned. “It’s nonetheless an enormous a part of the viewers that consumes MSNBC, however we’ve actually been targeted on, how will we take that deep connection and convey it to new locations?”
Ms. Jones mentioned that MSNBC would discover alternatives with Ms. Wagner to seem on NBCUniversal’s streaming platforms, equivalent to Peacock. Different MSNBC applications, together with “Morning Joe” and “All In With Chris Hayes,” already seem on Peacock hours after they air on the MSNBC cable channel.
Ms. Jones mentioned that she didn’t seek the advice of with Ms. Maddow about her alternative. Ms. Jones mentioned that Ms. Wagner has been on a brief listing to host MSNBC’s 9 p.m. hour for months, although she declined to element specifics of the negotiations.
Ms. Wagner’s winding journalism profession has spanned print, digital and TV retailers. A local of Washington, D.C., Ms. Wagner has worked as a cultural correspondent for the Middle for American Progress, a liberal assume tank, a co-host of the Showtime political docuseries “The Circus,” and at The Atlantic.
Ms. Wagner’s relationship with MSNBC goes again greater than a decade. Beginning in 2011, she hosted “Now with Alex Wagner,” a weekday opinion present. It was canceled in 2015 because the community pivoted its daytime lineup extra towards straight information protection and fewer opinion.
Ms. Wagner, a 1999 graduate of Brown College, is married to Sam Kass, a former White Home chef who grew to become shut buddies with Barack and Michelle Obama.