The Rachel Maddow Show

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The Rachel Maddow Show
GenrePolitical news/opinion program
Directed byRob Katko
Presented byRachel Maddow
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes1500+
Executive producerCory Gnazzo
ProducerSteve Benen
Production locationNew York City
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time60 minutes
Original networkMSNBC
Original releaseSeptember 8, 2008 (2008-09-08) –
RelatedAlex Wagner Tonight

The Rachel Maddow Show (also abbreviated TRMS) is an American liberal news and opinion television program that airs on MSNBC, running in the 9:00 pm ET time slot Monday evenings.[1] It is hosted by Rachel Maddow, who gained a public profile via her frequent appearances as a progressive pundit on programs aired by MSNBC.[2] It is based on her former radio show of the same name. The show debuted on September 8, 2008.[3]


The Rachel Maddow Show premiered on September 8, 2008. Keith Olbermann, then host of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, was Maddow's first guest.[4] Olbermann has been credited for persuading MSNBC to give Maddow her own program.[5] Maddow had served as a regular guest host for Countdown when Olbermann was absent. The Rachel Maddow Show replaced Verdict with Dan Abrams.[6]

In a 2019 segment about One America News Network (OANN), Maddow called the network "literally [...] paid Russian propaganda" based upon a Daily Beast article which reported that an OANN reporter also wrote freelance articles for the Russian state-owned Sputnik. In response, OANN sued Maddow, Comcast, MSNBC and NBCUniversal Media.[7] U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant dismissed the suit in 2021, ruling that Maddow's statement was a statement of opinion (thus protected by the First Amendment) and would not be construed by a reasonable viewer as an "assertion of objective fact."[8] Bashant also found that California's anti-SLAPP law applied, meaning that OANN had to pay the defendants' attorneys' fees.[8]

Maddow took a hiatus from February to April 2022 and, upon returning, announced that the show would move from its daily format to weekly on Mondays beginning in May, in order to focus on podcast projects as well as to serve as executive producer for an upcoming film based on her book Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House.[9][10]

In May 2022, the program was retitled MSNBC Prime on nights that Maddow did not host, but otherwise retained the same production staff, format, and presentation as The Rachel Maddow Show.[11] In June 2022, MSNBC announced that Alex Wagner would be Maddow's long-term replacement in the time slot on Tuesdays through Fridays beginning August 16,[12] with her show's title later announced on August 3 as Alex Wagner Tonight.[13]


The Rachel Maddow Show is broadcast from Studio 3-A at the NBC Studios, 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York.

The broadcast is available on many platforms besides MSNBC, including,[14] audio podcast,[15] video podcast,[16] text transcript,[17] YouTube,[18] and weblog.[19]

The series has occasionally used theater audiences, including the 92nd Street Y in New York City on December 20–22, 2010;[20] the Free State Brewery in Lawrence, Kansas, on February 23, 2011;[21] 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").[22]

Guest hosts[edit]

Ratings and reviews[edit]


The Rachel Maddow Show debuted on September 8, 2008, with 1.5 million viewers (483,000 of whom were in the 25–54 demographic).[24] Early reviews for her show were mostly positive. Los Angeles Times journalist Matea Gold stated that Maddow "finds the right formula on MSNBC",[25] while The Guardian wrote that Maddow has become the "star of America's cable news".[26] Associated Press columnist David Bauder called her Keith Olbermann's "political soul mate" and referred to the consecutive Olbermann and Maddow shows as a "liberal two-hour block" that was "averaging just under 2 million viewers a night" in October 2008.[27] 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."[28]

On September 16, 2008, the show drew 1.8 million viewers (with 534,000 in the 25–54 demographic), beating Larry King Live and becoming the highest-rated MSNBC show of the night.[29] Maddow's ratings success on September 16 prompted 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."[30] 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.[31] 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 that period was 992,000.[32]

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 and[33] becoming the second-highest rated program in its time slot, behind only Fox News's Hannity.[34] 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 achieving higher primetime and overall ratings.[35]

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,[36] though not in the week's cumulative viewership for the time slot.[37] The week was MSNBC's strongest since February 2009.[36] At the time, the network regularly ranked "a distant second" to Fox News viewership.[38]

In May 2013, the show delivered its lowest-rated month—717,000 viewers—since it debuted in September 2008, and its second-lowest with adults 25–54 with 210,000 viewers in that category, finishing behind FNC's Hannity and CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight.[39]

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, behind Fox News' Megyn Kelly but ahead of CNN's Piers Morgan Live.[40]


Following the November 2016 election of Donald Trump as president, The Rachel Maddow Show became a leading outlet for criticism of Trump, especially for the allegations that the Russian government had interfered in the election and had assisted Trump with his presidential campaign. For the week beginning February 13, 2017, Maddow's 9 p.m. ET show averaged 2.5 million total viewers, giving the host her best single week since just before the 2008 election, when the program pulled in an average of 2.6 million viewers. This also gave the show its second best week ever.[41] In February 2017, TRMS was watched by the largest number of viewers in the show's 9-year history.[42]

On March 14, 2017, Maddow revealed the first two pages of Trump's 2005 federal tax return on the program. The documents were obtained by journalist David Cay Johnston, who was a guest that night.[42] Before the program aired, the White House released a statement acknowledging that Trump paid $38 million in federal income taxes in 2005.[43] The White House also accused MSNBC of "violating the law" by discussing Trump's 2005 tax documents.[44]

In March 2018, The Rachel Maddow Show was America's highest-rated cable news show, besting Fox News' Hannity, with Variety stating that "Maddow averaged 3.058 million viewers for the month, narrowly topping Hannity’s 3.00 million."[45]

In ratings numbers released in July 2019, the show slipped to fifth place, with an average of 2.5 million million viewers in the overall cable ratings behind Hannity with 3.3 million viewers, Tucker Carlson Tonight with 3.1 million viewers, The Ingraham Angle with 2.6 million viewers and The Five with 2.5 million viewers.[46]

In early 2021, the show achieved its highest ratings in its history,[47] averaging 4.3 million viewers in January and 3.7 million in February, making it the highest rated program on all of American cable television, including non-news programming, and also averaged the most viewers for cable news in the 25–54 age demographic.[48] By June 2021, The Rachel Maddow Show had fallen to fifth place with only 289,000 viewers in the key 25–54 demographic.[49]

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ Tornoe, Rob. "Where's Rachel Maddow? MSNBC host won't be on the air much moving forward". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved May 14, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Baird, Julia (November 22, 2008). "When Left is Right". Newsweek.
  3. ^ Wolgemuth, Liz (September 24, 2008). "Rachel Maddow: MSNBC's Smart Hire". U.S. News & World Report.
  4. ^ Graham, Nicholas (September 8, 2008). "Rachel Maddow's First Show: Maddow, Olbermann Analyze Obama Interview". HuffPost.
  5. ^ Olbermann, Keith (August 19, 2008). "Rachel Gets Her Own MSNBC Show". The Daily Kos. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  6. ^ Stelter, Brian (October 20, 2008). "Fresh Face on Cable, Sharp Rise in Ratings". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "Rachel Maddow sued for $10 million by One America News in defamation case". CBS News. Retrieved June 23, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Gardner, Eriq (May 22, 2020). "Rachel Maddow, MSNBC Beat Libel Suit Over "Russian Propaganda"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 23, 2021.
  9. ^ Atkinson, Claire (January 31, 2022). "Rachel Maddow to take temporary break from her MSNBC show to work on movie and podcast projects". Business Insider. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  10. ^ Bauder, David (April 11, 2022). "Rachel Maddow returns to MSNBC, will switch to once a week". Associated Press.
  11. ^ "'MSNBC Prime' becomes 'Rachel Maddow' replacement four days a week". NewscastStudio. Retrieved May 6, 2022.
  12. ^ Hipes, Patrick (June 27, 2022). "Alex Wagner To Take Over Rachel Maddow's Time Slot At MSNBC". Deadline. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  13. ^ "Alex Wagner's New MSNBC Show Will Be Titled Alex Wagner Tonight". Retrieved August 5, 2022.
  14. ^ The Rachel Maddow Show
  15. ^ audio podcast
  16. ^ video podcast
  17. ^ Transcripts
  18. ^ MSNBC. "The Rachel Maddow Show". YouTube. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  19. ^ Maddow Blog
  20. ^ "Tuesday, Dec. 21st - Rachel Maddow show". NBC News.
  21. ^ '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).
  22. ^ "'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Friday, February 5th, 2010; Read the transcript to the Friday show". Today. February 8, 2010. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  23. ^ "Alison Stewart to Guest Host Maddow". TV Newser. AdWeek. November 18, 2008.
  24. ^ "The Scoreboard: Monday, September 8, 2008". TV Newser. AdWeek. September 8, 2008.
  25. ^ Gold, Matea (September 29, 2008). "MSNBC's new liberal spark plug". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  26. ^ Goodwin, Christopher (September 28, 2008). "Gay TV host is liberal queen of US news". The Observer. London. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  27. ^ Bauder, David (October 26, 2008). "O'Reilly, Olbermann: polar opposites of campaign". Associated Press. Archived from the original on October 31, 2008.
  28. ^ Stanley, Alessandra (September 25, 2008). "A Fresh Female Face Amid Cable Schoolboys". The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  29. ^ "The Scoreboard: Thursday, September 18, 2008". TV Newser. Media Bistro. September 19, 2008.
  30. ^ "Just one of those times where good people do well". TV Newser. AdWeek. September 18, 2008. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  31. ^ Villarreal, Yvonne (April 22, 2009). "Obama won, now what does Maddow's future hold?". Los Angeles Times.
  32. ^ Guthrie, Marisa (September 29, 2009). "Cable Ratings: Fox News Stays Ahead of Competition, Sees Uptick in Viewers, Demo". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  33. ^ "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.
  34. ^ Carter, Bill (March 29, 2010). "CNN Fails to Stop Fall in Ratings". The New York Times. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
  35. ^ Q2 2010 Ratings: MSNBC Down From Last Year, Tops CNN in Primetime Mediabistro Retrieved June 19, 2010
  36. ^ 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. Archived from the original on April 1, 2022. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  37. ^ "Tuesday Ratings: Maddow, O'Donnell Top Hannity, Greta In Demo, Come Close In Total Viewers". Mediaite. September 19, 2012. Archived from the original on October 18, 2012. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  38. ^ O'Connell, Michael (September 19, 2012). "Rachel Maddow Pulls Ahead of Bill O'Reilly as MSNBC Wins Demo in Primetime". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 22, 2021. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  39. ^ O'Connell, Michael (May 29, 2013). "TV Ratings: MSNBC Falls Below HLN in May, Rachel Maddow Hits Lows". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  40. ^ Michael O'Connell, "TV Ratings: Election Coverage Gives Fox News' Megyn Kelly a New Best", The Hollywood Reporter (November 6, 2013).
  41. ^ "Maddow's ratings get a Trump bump". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  42. ^ a b Grynbaum, Michael M. (March 15, 2017). "Rachel Maddow Lands a Scoop, Then Makes Viewers Wait". The New York Times. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  43. ^ "Trump paid $38M in 2005 income tax, White House says before report". NBC News. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  44. ^ "White House accuses MSNBC of violating the law over Maddow Trump tax reveal". The Raw Story. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  45. ^ Otterson, Joe (April 5, 2018). "Rachel Maddow Tops Sean Hannity in March, Fox News Host Tops 2018 Q1". Variety. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  46. ^ Joyella, Mark (July 30, 2019). "MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Slips To 5th Place In July Ratings". Forbes. Archived from the original on July 31, 2019. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  47. ^ Johnson, Ted (February 2, 2021). "CNN Tops January Ratings With Big Gains In Primetime Vs. A Year Ago". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  48. ^ Katz, A.J. (March 2, 2021). "February 2021 Ratings: For First Time Ever, MSNBC Finishes No. 1 in Total Day Viewers, But Drops to Third in Adults 25-54". Adweek. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  49. ^ Johnson, Ted (June 29, 2021). "Fox News Tops June And Q2 Viewership, But Plunge In Ratings Continues Across All Major Cable News Networks". Deadline. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  50. ^ "Winners at the 38th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards" (PDF). New York, NY: National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. October 5, 2017. p. 13.
  51. ^ "Winners at the 38th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards", p. 14.
  52. ^ "Nominees for the 32nd Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards". The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Retrieved August 3, 2011.
  53. ^ Ram, Archana (March 14, 2010). "'Brothers and Sisters' and 'Parks and Recreation' among winners at GLAAD Media Awards". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  54. ^ "Rachel Maddow and Joan Brown Campbell to Receive The 2010 Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award". Interfaith Alliance. August 16, 2010. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  55. ^ "Rachel Maddow & Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell Awarded the Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award". Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  56. ^ Shea, Danny (August 17, 2010). "Rachel Maddow To Receive Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award". Retrieved April 1, 2022 – via Huff Post.
  57. ^ Rachel Maddow, Glamour Magazine, and the AJC's Cynthia Tucker Among Planned Parenthood's 2010 Maggie Award Winners, Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
  58. ^ "Nominees for the 33rd Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards". The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on June 2, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2012.

External links[edit]

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