very thorough interview with Rachel Maddow

Scott Fybush
Mon Mar 9 18:16:51 EDT 2009

Donna Halper wrote:
> Given the erroneous posting that "Rachel Maddow's show is tanking,"  I 
> wanted to call list-members' attention to a long and very interesting 
> piece about her in Variety.

I'm as big a Rachel Maddow booster as anyone - indeed, I find her show 
more enjoyable than Olbermann's much of the time - but the raw viewer 
numbers, at least, are not kind to the MSNBC lineup and haven't been for 
a couple of months now. updates them daily, using the most optimistic set of 
figures it can - viewers in the "prime" 25-54 demo, and including 
same-day DVR viewing - and while all of the cable "news" networks have 
lost some audience from the peaks they posted just before the election, 
MSNBC has fallen off much more significantly than Fox.

For instance, last Friday night, O'Reilly pulled 676,000 viewers in "the 
demo," against 278,000 for Olbermann. At 9 PM, it was 598,000 for 
Hannity versus 187,000 for Rachel.

The total-viewership numbers are even uglier - 3.486 million vs. 1.081 
million at 8 PM, and 2.677 million vs. 933,000 at 9 PM.

I think there are some pretty logical explanations for all of this - the 
O'Reilly/Hannity partisans, being in the opposition at the moment, have 
much more to be worked up about right now than do the Olbermann/Maddow 
partisans, for much the same reason that Rush is getting so much attention.

No doubt the rapid rise in viewership for MSNBC leading up the election 
was bound to fall off pretty quickly afterward, too. And if the 
salespeople at MSNBC are any good, I'm sure they can spin interesting 
narratives comparing their viewers' income levels and such to those of 
Fox News viewers.

All of which is to say that "third place" doesn't automatically equal 
"tanking" - if, as I suspect, Maddow is bringing eyeballs to cable news 
that wouldn't be there otherwise, there may still be value there, even 
if the raw numbers don't add up to what Fox or even CNN draw in the same 
time period.

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