Could a post-election ratings drop spell trouble for Rachel Maddow?


As I get older, I find more and more comfort in having a routine. My schedule is never regular, but one thing I make sure I see every weekday is The Rachel Maddow Show. Whether it’s live or a rebroadcast, Maddow and a glass of wine before bed is all I need.

Rachel has been sick all week, and I’m not the only one who has seriously missed her, which makes just the thought of life without her even harder to bear. At this point, I don’t think anyone needs to worry about her show being canceled, but some believe that the post-election ratings slip could mean trouble for our favorite lesbian pundit.

In the heat of the 2008 presidential election, more people who generally tuned out politics where tuning in than ever before. A younger, more liberal voter base took to the blogs to show their support, and to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow — she was brilliant, she tweeted and her nightly analysis on the election was always spot-on — with a healthy dose of snark, of course.

After the election, some suffered from overload and needed a serious break from the intense political season, but Maddow had many of us hooked. Just as much as we needed her insight into the presidential debates, we need her insight on healthcare, along with topics that most pundits shy away from, such as domestic terrorism and abortion.

Blogger Amanda Marcotte agrees that Maddow fills a void when it comes to political reporting, but fears that the ratings drop her show saw after the election could spell disaster. In that an article published this week, Marcotte ponders Maddow’s fate, pointing at her post-election ratings and wondering if she is creating enough revenue for MSNBC:

“During the US election, there was a hunger for televised liberal content, and no one does it better than Maddow,” Marcotte writes. “It seems that now, most liberals have turned off their TVs and returned to getting most information from the internet, and Maddow’s ratings have plummeted as a result…Video clips of her shows are routinely traded on liberal blogs, but that doesn’t translate into ad revenue for MSNBC.”

It’s obvious that most news programs that specialized in politics or had a popular pundit took a dip in ratings after the election, but I don’t think we should worry too much about Maddow’s fate. Her ratings soared above fellow MSNBC-ers Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann during the election, and while we are pretty clear where she stands on the issues, she tells both sides of a story and never shouts over her guests. Rachel prefers to let the truth speak for itself rather than name-calling and hyperbole. Sure, some political junkies who were glued to the election have taken to the internet — but nearly every day on those blogs, I read a quote from Maddow or see a clip from her show.

Maybe the advertisers aren’t lining up to throw money at MSNBC when there isn’t a big election underway, but as someone who works in the media I can honestly say advertisers aren’t throwing nearly as much money around these days in general.

Marcotte makes a good point: We need to cherish Maddow and let MSNBC know how much we appreciate her show, but I wouldn’t be questioning her lifespan just yet.

In any case, Marcotte’s argument did make me value my favorite pundit ever even more than I did before. Did you tune out after the election, or is Rachel Maddow’s show still a must-watch?

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