The Rachel Maddow Show is ending, but Maddow vetoed MSNBC’s attempt to bring back Keith Olbermann to take over 9 p.m.
Keith Olbermann, who shaped the network’s liberal voice before being canned more than a decade ago, was in lengthy discussions with NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell and news boss Cesar Conde to return to MSNBC and take over the key 9 p.m. time slot, the former Countdown host told Source Material.
But any dream of an Olbermann reunion was squashed when Maddow—who recently signed a massive $30 million deal to work less and transition out of her nightly broadcast—stepped in to personally veto him as her successor.
“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 chief-turned-consultant to Maddow’s production company] Phil Griffin refused,” Olbermann told Source Material, claiming that the network also offered him a show in 2016.
Maddow is working with former MSNBC boss Phil Griffin on her new production company, and Griffin and Olbermann have an epic decade-plus long feud going, so it isn’t a surprise that Maddow would block Olbermann from returning to MSNBC.
MSNBC has a big problem. The 9 p.m. hour viewership has dropped substantially without Rachel Maddow, and the numbers have continued to decline.
The replacement hosts have done great work, but none of them have the star power to compete with Fox News primetime.
It makes sense that NBC would look toward Olbermann. A Keith Olbermann return would draw millions of viewers to MSNBC at 9 p.m., but it is 2022, and it is easy to see why it might be time for a different voice in the network’s most high-profile time slot.
An Olbermann return would have been big news, but it also would have changed the tone of MSNBC primetime.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association