The Rachel Maddow Show

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This article is about the television show. For the Air America radio show of the same name, see The Rachel Maddow Show (radio program).
The Rachel Maddow Show
Genre Political news/opinion program
Directed by Rob Katko
Presented by Rachel Maddow
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 400+
Executive producer(s) Bill Wolff, Cory Gnazzo
Location(s) New York City
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 60 minutes
Original channel MSNBC
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original run September 8, 2008 (2008-09-08) – present
Preceded by Verdict with Dan Abrams
External links

The Rachel Maddow Show (also abbreviated TRMS) is a daily news and opinion television program that airs on MSNBC, running in the 9:00 pm ET timeslot. It is hosted by Rachel Maddow, who gained popularity with her frequent appearances as a liberal pundit on various MSNBC programs.[1] It is based on her former radio show of the same name. The show debuted on September 8, 2008.[2]


Keith Olbermann, then host of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, was Maddow's first guest on her debut show,[3] and has been given credit for pushing for Maddow to get her own show.[4] Prior to getting her own show, Maddow had served as regular guest host for Countdown when Olbermann was absent. The Rachel Maddow Show replaced Verdict with Dan Abrams.[5]


The Rachel Maddow Show is broadcast from 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York.

Current segments[edit]

Maddow invites a variety of commentators and newsmakers onto the show to discuss the day's news. Frequent segments include:

  • TRMS Tonight: Maddow opens the show, briefly detailing the issues the show will cover in the following hour.
  • The Interview: Maddow interviews a guest about a particular story.
  • Debunktion Junction: A fact-checking segment. Maddow presents several statements or claims from current news and asks "True or false?" She then judges the claim as "true" (with a bell) or "false" (with a buzzer).
  • Moment of Geek: Maddow provides information on a subject usually related to science, math, or other potentially "geeky" subjects.
  • The Best New Thing in the World Today: Occasionally, at the close of the show, Maddow presents a heart-warming item such as a quirky news piece or video.
  • Cocktail Moment: Maddow makes a cocktail in the studio. This segment is usually done on a Friday.
  • The Ezra Klein Challenge: Guest host Ezra Klein attempts to explain a traditionally difficult or "boring" topic in two minutes or less.
  • GOP in Exile: Maddow reports on the activities of the Republican Party. This 2009 segment was reprised after the 2012 US election.
  • Friday Night News Dump: A random guest viewer or Maddow Blog reader is invited live on the show via Skype for a short, 3 question quiz about news events of the week featured on the show. If they answer 2 of the 3 correctly, they win a cheap item from the staff's office, such as a small cocktail shaker.

Former segments[edit]

  • IntimiNation: Maddow reports on violence and threats of violence by right-wing extremists in the U.S.
  • It's Pat: Maddow debates Pat Buchanan, whom she refers to as her "fake uncle," on a topic.[2] The name "It's Pat" was taken from the Saturday Night Live sketch and film of the same name.
  • Just Enough: Maddow runs down a few pop culture stories with Kent Jones.
  • Lame Duck Watch: Between the 2008 presidential election and Obama's inauguration, Maddow commented on President Bush's last actions in office, because "somebody has to do it." The segment restarted on November 9, 2010 to cover the lame-duck sessions of the 111th Congress. In 2008, the segment started with the theme "Hail to the Chief." In 2010, the segment started with incoming Speaker John Boehner yelling, "Hell no you can't!"
  • Life During Wartime: Maddow reports on news about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. During the beginning of the segment, there is a sign saying "This Way Out?" on the screen.
  • Ms. Information: Maddow discusses news stories she feels have been under-reported, referring to them as "Holy Mackerel" stories. During the appearance of a male guest host, the segment was instead titled Mr. Information.
  • Pin the Debt on the Donkey: An infrequent game show-style segment where Rachel has two contestants (one is usually Kent Jones) answer questions wrongly (on purpose) about the records of former Presidents regarding increasing the National Debt.
  • Rachel Re:: Maddow provides an extended commentary on a topic.
  • Scrub. Rinse. Repeat: Maddow comments on issues that President Bush left behind.
  • Talk Me Down: Maddow elaborates on an issue that concerns her and then brings in an expert to discuss
  • TMI: Maddow and Kent Jones "investigate" representatives and senators who have been recently talked about.
  • The Weak in Review: Maddow and Kent Jones cover "outstanding achievements in public lame-itude"; sometimes replaces "Just Enough" on Friday editions of the show.

Live audience shows[edit]

The series has occasionally aired in front of theatre audiences, including the 92nd Street Y in New York City on December 20–22, 2010;[6] the Free State Brewery in Lawrence, Kansas on February 23, 2011;[7] and the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana on February 5, 2010 (to mark the impending Super Bowl XLIV game featuring the New Orleans Saints under the name "The Rachel Maddeaux Sheaux").[8]

Guest hosts[edit]

Ratings and reviews[edit]

The Rachel Maddow Show debuted on September 8, 2008, with 1,543,000 viewers (483,000 of whom were in the 25–54 demographic).[10] Early reviews for her show were mostly positive. Los Angeles Times writer, Matea Gold stated that Maddow, "finds the right formula on MSNBC",[11] while The Guardian writes Maddow has become the "star of America's cable news".[12] Associated Press columnist, David Bauder called her Keith Olbermann's "political soul mate" and referred to the Olbermann/Maddow shows as a two-hour "liberal ... block."[13] The New York Times writer Alessandra Stanley opined: "Her program adds a good-humored female face to a cable news channel whose prime time is dominated by unruly, often squabbling schoolboys; Ms. Maddow's deep, modulated voice is reassuringly calm after so much shrill emotionalism and catfights among the channel's aging, white male divas".[14]

On September 16, 2008, the show drew 1,801,000 viewers (with 534,000 in the 25–54 demographic), beating Larry King Live and becoming the highest-rated MSNBC show of the night.[15] Maddow's ratings success on September 16, 2008 prompted many of her MSNBC colleagues on Morning Joe to congratulate her on the air, including Joe Scarborough, who said it was "just one of those times where good people do well."[16] In the month of March 2009 the average number of viewers dropped to 1.1 million, part of a general trend in the ratings decline for cable news programs.[17] During the third quarter of 2009, the show was ranked in third place behind Fox News's Hannity and CNN's Larry King Live. The average total number of viewers for the show's airtimes during this period was 992,000.[18]

During the first quarter of 2010, Maddow's show pulled well ahead of Larry King Live, regularly beating the show in overall and primetime ratings,[19] becoming the second highest-rated program in its time slot, behind only Fox News's Hannity.[20] The show continued its lead during the second quarter of 2010, staying well ahead of CNN's Larry King Live for the third consecutive quarter, and topping the show in both primetime and overall ratings.[21]

In September 2012, Maddow viewership in the 25–54 demographic topped that of Hannity on Monday and Tuesday and in the demographic's daily average for the week,[22] though not in the week's cumulative viewership for the time slot.[23] The week was MSNBC's strongest since February 2009.[22] At the time, the network regularly ranked "a distant second" to Fox News viewership.[24]

In May 2013, the show delivered its lowest-rated month since it debuted in September 2008 (717,000 total viewers) and its second-lowest with adults 25-54 (210,000). Maddow was topped by both FNC's Hannity and CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight.[25]

In November 2013, during the off-year election coverage, Maddow was "up significantly, averaging second place in both measures with 1.267 million viewers and 313,000 adults 25-54." This placed the Maddow Show second, running behind Fox News' Megyn Kelly, but ahead of CNN's Piers Morgan Live.[26]

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ a b Baird, Julia (November 22, 2008). "When Left is Right". Newsweek. 
  2. ^ a b Wolgemuth, Liz (September 24, 2008). "Rachel Maddow: MSNBC's Smart Hire". U.S. News & World Report. 
  3. ^ Graham, Nicholas (September 8, 2008). "Rachel Maddow's First Show: Maddow, Olbermann Analyze Obama Interview". The Huffington Post. 
  4. ^ Olbermann, Keith (August 19, 2008). "Rachel Gets Her Own MSNBC Show". The Daily Kos. 
  5. ^ Stelter, Brian (October 20, 2008). "Fresh Face on Cable, Sharp Rise in Ratings". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ December 21, 2010 transcript
  7. ^ 'The Rachel Maddow Show,' Kansas edition, Kansas City Star (February 24, 2011); MSNBC host brings spotlight to Lawrence: MSNBC show will air tonight at 8, 11 p.m., Topeka Capital-Journal (February 23, 2011).
  8. ^ February 5, 2010 transcript
  9. ^ "Alison Stewart to Guest Host Maddow". TV Newser (Media Bistro). November 18, 2008. 
  10. ^ "The Scoreboard: Monday, September 8, 2008". TV Newser (Media Bistro). September 8, 2008. 
  11. ^ Gold, Matea (September 29, 2008). "MSNBC's new liberal spark plug Rachel Maddow, political junkie and TV rookie, launches to surprising ratings". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 11, 2010. 
  12. ^ Goodwin, Christopher (September 28, 2008). "Gay TV host is liberal queen of US news". The Observer (London). Retrieved March 11, 2010. 
  13. ^ Bauder, David (October 26, 2008). "O'Reilly, Olbermann: polar opposites of campaign". Associated Press. [dead link]
  14. ^ Stanley, Alessandra (September 25, 2008). "A Fresh Female Face Amid Cable Schoolboys". The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2010. 
  15. ^ "The Scoreboard: Thursday, September 18, 2008". TV Newser (Media Bistro). September 19, 2008. 
  16. ^ "Just one of those times where good people do well". TV Newser (Media Bistro). September 18, 2008. 
  17. ^ Villarreal, Yvonne (April 22, 2009). "Obama won, now what does Maddow's future hold?". Los Angeles Times. 
  18. ^ Guthrie, Marisa (September 29, 2009). "Cable Ratings: Fox News Stays Ahead of Competition, Sees Uptick in Viewers, Demo". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  19. ^ "MSNBC Beats CNN in 1Q 2010 In Primetime; And In Total Day Among Adults In March, First Time Since 2001". TV by the Numbers. March 30, 2010. Retrieved March 31, 2010. 
  20. ^ Carter, Bill (March 29, 2010). "CNN Fails to Stop Fall in Ratings". The New York Times. Retrieved March 29, 2010. 
  21. ^ Q2 2010 Ratings: MSNBC Down From Last Year, Tops CNN in Primetime Mediabistro Retrieved June 19, 2010
  22. ^ a b O'Connell, Michael (September 24, 2012). "Rachel Maddow Beats Sean Hannity's Weekly Demo Ratings for First Time Since 2009". The Hollywood Reporter (Prometheus Global Media). Archived from the original on June 23, 2013. Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  23. ^ Mediaite Staff (September 19, 2012). "Tuesday Ratings: Maddow, O’Donnell Top Hannity, Greta In Demo, Come Close In Total Viewers". Mediaite. Archived from the original on June 23, 2013. Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  24. ^ O'Connell, Michael (September 19, 2012). "Rachel Maddow Pulls Ahead of Bill O'Reilly as MSNBC Wins Demo in Primetime". The Hollywood Reporter (Prometheus Global Media). Archived from the original on June 23, 2013. Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  25. ^ O'Connell, Michael (2013-05-29). "TV Ratings: MSNBC Falls Below HLN in May, Rachel Maddow Hits Lows". The Hollywood Reporter (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  26. ^ Michael O'Connell, TV Ratings: Election Coverage Gives Fox News' Megyn Kelly a New Best, Hollywood Reporter (November 6, 2013).
  27. ^ "Nominees for the 32nd Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards". The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Retrieved August 3, 2011. 
  28. ^ Ram, Archana (March 14, 2010). "'Brothers and Sisters' and 'Parks and Recreation' among winners at GLAAD Media Awards". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 15, 2010. 
  29. ^ [Rachel Maddow and Joan Brown Campbell to Receive The 2010 Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award] (August 16, 2010), Interfaith Alliance.
  30. ^ Rachel Maddow, Glamour Magazine, and the AJC's Cynthia Tucker Among Planned Parenthood's 2010 Maggie Award Winners, Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
  31. ^ "Nominees for the 33rd Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards". The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
All In with Chris Hayes
MSNBC Weekday Lineup
9:00 pm – 10:00 pm (ET)
Succeeded by
The Last Word
Preceded by
All In with Chris Hayes
MSNBC Weekday Lineup
12:00 am – 1:00 am (ET)
Succeeded by
The Last Word