MSNBC struggles without Maddow as her ‘veto power’ reportedly keeps Olbermann off network: ‘How embarrassing’

Joe Concha on MSNBC host arguing GOP only plays to White, male, cisgender voters: ‘Everybody is a racist’

The Fox News contributor joined ‘Fox & Friends First’ to discuss how the liberal media continues to push identity politics.

Rachel Maddow’s extended hiatus continues to plague MSNBC as viewers turn away from the liberal network while potential replacements “who don’t pass her ideological litmus test” are reportedly nixed by the absent star. 

MSNBC has continued to brand its 9 p.m. hour as “The Rachel Maddow Show,” but with a series of rotating hosts, instead of Maddow herself, following the network’s biggest star stepping away from the network until April to work on other projects. The results have not been pretty for MSNBC, as “The Rachael Maddow Show” hasn’t been able to remain relevant without its namesake host. 

Last week, the program shed a quarter of its audience among they key demographic of adults age 25-54 compared only to the week prior. It hemorrhaged a staggering 47% of its total audience compared to the same week in 2021 when Maddow was in the anchor chair. 

Rachel Maddow would have made a "f-ckton of money" if she allowed Keith Olbermann to take over her timeslot, according to Olbermann himself. 

One replacement host who could have managed to draw an audience to the struggling network is liberal firebrand Keith Olbermann, a former MSNBC star who rose to prominence at the network from 2003 until 2011. Olbermann told The Daily Beast on Monday that he was in talks with MSNBC’s corporate overlords to take over the struggling 9 p.m. timeslot but Maddow “stepped in to personally veto him” as her replacement. 

“Keith Olbermann is MSNBC’s only hope after their disastrous decision to pay Rachel Maddow eight figures not to work. There’s no one else,” a longtime TV news executive told Fox News Digital. 

“How embarrassing for MSNBC that they’re still giving Rachel veto power over hosts who don’t pass her ideological litmus test,” the executive added. “Cesar Conde keeps surpassing himself as the weakest executive in network television.”

Indeed, NBCUniversal News Group chair Cesar Conde agreed to pay Maddow a reported $30 million annually a few months before she announced her planned hiatuses. 

Olbermann insists Maddow would have benefited from the deal if she didn’t personally squash it. 

“I offered to have her production company ‘produce’ the show. Would give her some proxy control and a f-ckton of money but she and [former MSNBC boss] Phil Griffin refused,” Olbermann told the Beast; Griffin now consults for Maddow’s production company. 

“I do not expect to continue negotiations with the successors to this management team,” Olbermann continued. “Management is worse than asleep at the switch.”

MSNBC declined comment when reached by Fox News Digital. 

MSNBC’s "The Rachel Maddow Show" has struggled without its namesake host. 

Griffin did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Maddow’s star was born over a decade ago with a little help from Olbermann himself, whose TV career was boosted by guest-hosting his MSNBC show. A 2008 New York magazine feature even cited an MSNBC staffer who said Olbermann is the person who truly hired Maddow in the first place. She began hosting her own primetime show that year and has been one of MSNBC’s stars ever since.

It’s unclear what has transpired between Maddow and the notoriously prickly Olbermann over the past decade, but he didn’t seem particularly thrilled with her current staff in recent days. 

On Friday night, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul appeared on “The Rachel Maddow Show” with guest host Ali Velshi and shocked viewers by making a comparison between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Adolf Hitler that seemed to favor the Nazi dictator, wrongly claiming he never killed “ethnic Germans.” 

The comments were promoted by the Maddow Blog, which tweeted, “One difference between Putin and Hitler is that Hitler didn’t kill ethnic Germans, German-speaking people. Putin slaughters the very people he said he has come to liberate.”

The clip went viral with critics taking McFaul – who eventually apologized — to the woodshed for his fact-challenged commentary, and Olbermann was one of the people with the loudest megaphone. He retweeted a message declaring McFaul received no on-air pushback because Maddow is “checked out” and called MSNBC, Maddow and her Twitter account all “pitiful” in his own tweet.

Olbermann sent multiple tweets attacking Maddow’s team before it deleted the offensive clip, calling out executive producer Cory Gnazzo, editor Steve Benen and MSNBC president Rashida Jones by name. He even said they’ve turned MSNBC into a “sh-tshow.” 

Keith Olbermann has criticized Rachel Maddow’s staff on social media.  (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

But Olbermann isn’t the only former staffer who feels the liberal network has taken a significant step backwards. 

Puck senior correspondent Dylan Byers, who was a media reporter for MSNBC’s corporate sibling, NBC News, until September, penned a scathing takedown last week headlined, “Is MSNBC on Autopilot?” 

Byers noted Maddow’s hiatus has been a sneak peek at “the crisis that the network will face after she leaves primetime for good later this year,” as the network clearly has “monumental challenges” and cratering ratings when “the network’s sole primetime star” isn’t around. 

When Maddow announced that she would be off MSNBC for several weeks, she also hinted that other extended absences could be in her future. Over the last year, it has been repeatedly reported that she’s looking to scale back her daily program because of professional burnout.

“We’re just taking it one step at a time,” Maddow told viewers earlier this year. 

Alex Wagner replaced Maddow last month, averaging 1.6 million viewers from Feb. 14-17 for a 21% drop compared to the two million viewers "The Rachel Maddow Show" averaged in 2021 with its namesake host at the helm.
(MSNBC screenshot)

Byers wrote that “the problem for MSNBC is that it seems to lack both a leader and an overarching strategy” and criticized the network’s other primetime hosts as too radical. 

“By night, it’s a soon-to-be-Maddow-less smattering of self-righteous, academic liberals catering to the A.O.C. wing of the Democratic party,” Byers wrote, apparently referring to left-wing primetime hosts Chris Hayes and Lawrence O’Donnell. 

Byers even suggested NBCUniversal honchos might not even care what happens at MSNBC as long as it turns a profit because they have so much else on their plate. “It’s an argument, but not one that will satisfy the many MSNBC insiders who play to win, and are looking for a source of inspiration,” he wrote. 

However, it’s unclear how many more viewers the network can afford to lose. Last week alone, “The Rachel Maddow Show” finished as the No. 23 most popular cable news offering among the advertiser-coveted demo, finishing with a smaller audience than 14 Fox News shows and eight CNN programs. 

Maddow’s show averaged only 239,000 viewers in the critical category compared to 726,000 for No. 1 finisher “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” and even finished with a smaller audience than a variety of daytime programs. 

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report. 

Source: Read Full Article