Wednesday, June 7, 2017

'Sick' Rachel Maddow Returns To MSNBC Show

On Tuesday, MSNBC announced its live coverage plan for Thursday’s highly anticipated coverage of fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony and there was a noticeable omission — Rachel Maddow.

Maddow, one of the network’s biggest stars, has historically co-anchored MSNBC’s big coverage events, most recently alongside former NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams. But on Thursday, Williams will instead be joined by NBC News correspondent Nicolle Wallace.

In a June 2 tweet, Maddow indicated that she was ill, noting that she was “doped to the gills and still flat-on-my-back sick.” But on Tuesday, the 44-year-old host said on Twitter she’s returning to her program.

Maddow has been absent from her popular MSNBC show since May 25, and other than calling in to speak to fill-in host Ari Melber on June 2, little has been seen or heard from her. She’s also been uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter, sending just one tweet to her 7.56 million followers since May 26.

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The absence came as Maddow has soared in the ratings, leading MSNBC to its first monthly prime-time cable news ratings win in the critical 25-to-54 age demographic in 17 years.

When Andrew Lack became chairman of NBC News in 2015, he announced his intent to shift MSNBC away from Keith Olbermann-style bloviation and toward nonpartisan, straight-ahead news gathering, according to The NYTimes.

Olbermann may be long gone. Yet the network’s rise has relied largely on its sharply opinionated commentary, with Ms. Maddow moving to No. 1 in prime time on the strength of monologues devoted to President Trump’s ties to Russia, and with Lawrence O’Donnell speaking openly about impeachment.

In an interview, Mr. Lack rejected the notion that MSNBC was a Fox News for the left.

“I don’t buy it,” he said, his voice rising. “And honestly, I’ve never been comfortable with the Fox examples, of how we compare to them, or being an alternative to them. I don’t think we’re an alternative to anything. We’re live, breaking news during the day, and the smartest, most insightful opinion space we can create at night.”

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