Rachel Maddow’s razor-sharp repartee a ratings success

March 9, 2009

(ChattahBox) — From modest, relatively unknown beginnings on Air America, the quirky presence of Rachel Maddow has impressed itself and its host on an ever-growing sector of American society. And the reaction, overall, has been remarkably positive. Having created what may be the first successful example of political punditry to successfully fill the notoriously tricky 9pm slot, the growth of her reputation has been almost as swift as that of her ratings.

Since her network inception as the temporary host on Keith Olbermann’s show, and with almost no promotion by the Network itself, this unassuming 35-year old and her iconoclastic style have garnered an audience of well over a million; as Olbermann’s co-pilot for President Obama’s first Congressional address, chatting with Leno and even had tea with the girls at The View and come back alive. And the nation’s reaction has been such an upbeat and fiscal delight for her bosses, the only problem she’s caused is how to fill the subsequent hour with similar fare and conquer Fox News.

As markedly different from Fox’s somewhat abrasive main players as it’s conceivable, and highly desirable to be, Ms. Maddow defines her style as ‘Smart snark, with a smile. And the audience can’t get enough. Free of the ranting and blather so prevalent among her alleged competition, the show’s key fare of lengthy annotations on the day’s events, seasoned with her own quirky humor has grown to serious discourse with Washington heavyweights such as Nancy Pelosi, which she handled with such sanguine aplomb that MSNBC’s President, Phil Griffin, who calls her ‘a phenomenon,’ is already said to be planning some more.

Though she regards him as her mentor, Ms. Maddow has yet to share Keith Olbermann’s rather curious accolade of a parody skit on Saturday Night Live, and is even impartial on the need to wear make-up when doing the show. But the serious journalist is very much in her blood; Each one-hour show is the result of eight hours of prep and revision; “I scramble all day,” she says. “It is so unhealthy. I am going to be dead by the time I am 40.” Such a fateful prognosis has few believers among the 1.2-million devoted consumers of her daily reports. Having doubled the ratings in under a year you can bet she’s watched over like gold.

For someone who has created such an impact as part of the media, the media interest in Ms. Maddow herself has been refreshingly restrained. From her days on Air America to her current tenure as the first openly gay host on network news, the fact that her peers have sufficient material is hardly in doubt; Such continued restraint can therefore only add stock to the view that Ms. Maddow is held in widespread respect.

Her erudite analysis of President Obama’s Congressional address was warmly received by the critics, and having reportedly been ‘stunned to the point of incoherence’ by Governor Jindal’s reply, it can be assumed that Ms. Maddow’s political views are not of the right. It therefore remains to be seen how her show will evolve as the President’s policies are announced and enacted. One thing’s for sure; A large and seemingly implacable audience will be hanging upon her every finely-honed word.


2 Responses to “Rachel Maddow’s razor-sharp repartee a ratings success”

  1. Ricardo on March 10th, 2009 6:58 pm

    Wrong, Rachel has had a parody of her done on SNL.

  2. jeremyemilio on March 14th, 2009 7:25 pm

    I like Rachel, and the reason she is getting respect from her counterparts and competition is that she is largely respectful (unlike Olbermann and Matthews, for instance). But she is being destroyed in the ratings by (ugh) Hannity. Her lead in doesn’t help, I’m sure. O’Reilly beats Olbermann like a rented mule… Bottom line, MSNBC is a joke, and my bet is that at some point RM jumps ship. She belongs at CNN and would make the perfect replacement for Larry King when he inevitably dries up and blows away – with Rachel Maddow sandwiched between Campbell Brown and Anderson Cooper the line-up would be a lot less of an incoherent mess and CNN would be able to give Fox a run for its money. And MSNBC could just hasten its descent into a left wing political blog written by and for C average university sophomores.

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