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Rachel Maddow promises to stir things up with her new MSNBC show

Rachel Maddow, MSNBC’s newest host, giddily contemplated what her show will look like when it debuts on the cable news network on Sept. 8.

“Live audience. Live punk band. You know, mariachis for important segues,” she joked with Keith Olbermann Tuesday evening during an appearance on his program to announce her new gig.

No matter what form her show takes, there’s no question that the 35-year-old will cut a different figure than most of her cable brethren. An openly gay woman, unapologetic liberal and Rhodes scholar with a doctorate from Oxford University, Maddow has drawn a passionate following during her stint this year as an analyst for MSNBC.

Network executives are now trying to capitalize on her rising popularity, hoping that she will further their efforts to remake MSNBC as the destination for lively political news and analysis.

MSNBC officially announced today that it was replacing Dan Abrams’s program “Verdict” in the 6 p.m. PT time slot with “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

"Rachel is unbelievably talented and brilliant; her breadth and depth of knowledge of politics and news is astonishing and I'm so excited to give her a place to really showcase what she can do," said MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a statement.

Abrams, who served as general manager of the channel for a period, will continue in his role as chief legal correspondent for NBC News, making additional contributions to “Dateline” and “Today,” and anchor on MSNBC during the day.

"Dan is the best legal analyst in the business,” Griffin said. “Our prime time focus is now politics, so this move will enable Dan to focus on what he does best.”

Abrams graciously called the decision “absolutely the right call.”

“I look forward to my future success at NBC News," he said in a statement released by the network.

Maddow’s appointment is another indication of how MSNBC is embracing the political left in a quest for ratings. The strategy, driven largely by the success of Olbermann’s denunciations of the Bush Administration, has left NBC News open to criticism from Republicans who complain that the channel’s coverage is unfair.

But liberals were jubilant at the news of Maddow’s appointment. On the website Daily Kos, where Olbermann broke the news Tuesday in a “fully authorized leak,” one commenter posted a poem in her honor, calling her “the Everlasting Progressive, the Princess of News.”

Maddow, who will continue hosting her daily radio program on Air America, said she plans to make her new television program more than a political forum.

“We’ll do weird news from far away,” she told Olbermann. “I have weird obsessions that will probably make it onto the show. I’m obsessed with the Iraqi national soccer team. I think there’s a lot of domestic crime committed by naked men that needs a lot extra coverage.”

“We still haven’t defined the role of America in a post-Soviet world, let alone a post-9/11 world,” she added more seriously. “There’s so much going on between the election and the goofy that is neither. And I think after the election in part it’s going to be a little bit of a relief to have the whole wide world to cover, rather than just the election to chew on.”

-- Matea Gold

Comments () | Archives (41)

Gives us all another reason not to watch this bias channel.

Rachel Maddow: What a treat for the eye, ear and brain!

She's an exciting talent. The shows she's appeared on "light up" when she's there. I expect her to call BS on both conservatives and liberals when she sees it.

What a great move by MSNBC. Not only are they smart to give a voice to more than half of America - - Progressices/Liberals/Americans, but Rachel is so intelligent... maybe a few people will learn something, so they stop voting against their interests.

I've been a fan of Rachel Maddow since she was a radio toddler years ago. She has gotten better and better, and the leap to television was inevitable. She is so smart and insightful. It will be great to watch her as well as listen to her.

Mmm, yeah ... go watch Faux News, un-fair and over-balanced.

Great choice, I'm looking forward to watching Rachel on a daily basis!

Gives us all another reason to watch this progressive channel.

She is and always was the best and most informative talking head on cable. I think this is only the beginning for her. I will be watching her faithfully.

She is and always was the best and most informative talking head on cable. I think this is only the beginning for her. I will be watching her faithfully.

What an embarrassment passing for a news channel, even FOX has the stones to pair Hannity with Colmes, gimme a break! Dr. Maddow, oof! What a success at Air America (not), nice match for the fools at MSNBC...

This just proves that having brains doesn't make you smart.

I wonder if Maddow will have more balls than her benefactor (Olbermann) and actually debate someone with whom she disagrees. At least O'Reilly, Hannity and Limbaugh routinely talk to liberals and Democrats. When's the last time a conservative stepped foot on the Countdown set? No, Olbermann would rather make funny voices to amuse the stagehands and sock puppets that serve as guests.

You know, this is the most idiotic thing MSNBC news has done to date. Now, I like Rachel enough, but to take Dan off the air as a regular anchor is absolutely ridiculous. He is one of the few MSNBC anchors that is bipartison, that doesn't spin everything constantly with their personal politics. So, yeah - they remove him, of course. Great move, MSNBC - you're growing more and more like Fox news every day!

I can't believe you are trying to improve on the best. Dan Abrams was smart, sincere, honest and funny. I won't be watching his replacement.

I think a great name for her new show should be: Reality Check With Rachel Maddow. I am a huge fan and look forward to the show.

I hope your three viewers like Rachel!!!

I really enjoy watching Rachel Maddow, but couldn't they have cut another show instead of Dan Abrams. He really does do the best job of being fair to all sides. With MSNBC running several of their shows more than once a day, there surely is room for someone as bright as Dan ABrams. While I writing, Couldn't we get Aaron Brown back on the air? And couldn't MSNBC get Anderson Cooper?

I like Rachel, but I love Dan Abrams. She's smart as a whip and I love hearing her talk, but I don't understand why they couldn't have just squeezed her in with her own show and kept him on as well. I'll miss that handsome face.

I am very sad to see that Dan no longer has a show - I always enjoyed a real direct legal analysis, particularly in this time when the US constitution is in such shambles. And I hope he has opportunities to do more analysis on that front rather than some of the ridiculous Enquirer like scandal things he sometimes ends up with. The American public is in dire need of 'healthy interpretations of policy via the lens of the constitution" so the more places you can put him for a larger audience the better! So I look forward to seeing him elsewhere legitimizing the discussions about what was wrong with what the Bush administration has done and giving it validity where other press has not. He says his show leaving is the right call ... yeah, it is a hard one if the behind the scenes is what I think it might be -- MSNBC has to begin representing a wider more diverse audience if it wants to maintain a foothold in a 'radical/independent demographic". And that is a true demographic perhaps wider than a conservative one in which comparitively it may spend more dollars ... if you are fighting for commercial time in primetime. It is the spending those dollars needed to maintain and stimulate a thriving economy. (Hey John Stewart listen up!). It is also clear that they are working with Tamron Hall ... maybe a little too hard, distracted by the producer in her ear, often she doesn't seem to listen to either co-anchors or folks she is interviewing! Which is the only way I can imagine she blundered in casting aspersion about the Jamaican team using something enhancing to win their races. Does she not understand she is the news? ... there is something to be said for checking facts and sources rather than forcing rumor as real news. Or even, you know, crafting a real story - using historical back drop. Maybe Dan can help her here ... using Rachel's historical know how ... or Chris Matthews! How about doing a story that had a bit of compassion for the island nation .. that recognizes (oh show some intelligence) with a geopolitical frame. Yah, that's the deal. Oh, hang on - this is NBC, they don't even interview the person winning the gold medal it they are not American! How can a poor and underdeveloped nation, held in place by huge external powerful forces compete and win against these industrial nations? ... There is a story. Isn't there a story? ... What happened in history in Jamaica? Why is this important?: "... Washington targeted Manley's government. Besides "putting the squeeze on the economy," as Manley himself described it, a Washington-backed campaign of CIA terror left over 750 people, mostly young, dead. " (1976) (archives - hartford) ... Despite the disruption that continues into today - this nation reached for the stars still and ended up at the Olympics where they have become stars. I like Rachel - even when I don't agree. Good luck to her. Hey maybe she will do the Jamaica story ...

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