MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has done a couple of interviews lately, where she discussed her post-election ratings slide. Maddow has dropped from 1.9 million viewers during the election to a current average of 1.1 million. The question is, with Democratic viewers now satisfied, can progressive talk continue to grow?
March was The Rachel Maddow Show’s lowest rated month ever, but she told the LA Times that she isn’t concerned about the ratings, “My job of asking questions and being critical doesn’t stop depending on who is in the White House. My main concern is keeping the quality of the show high. We don’t debate the ratings very much.”
She also told McClatchy Newspapers that she still plans on making fun of bad ideas, “So wherever there are bad ideas, I will find ways to make fun of them. Sometimes, that’s going to be bad Democratic ideas. It’s going to be bad Republican ideas. It’s just going to be bad ideas. So I don’t worry about not having George Bush to beat up on anymore.”
Rachel Maddow’s show is the least of MSNBC’s worries. Her show consistently beats CNN’s Larry King among 25-54 year olds, and it in a close race with King for second in total viewers. Most progressive media outlets experienced a decline after the 2008 election. I think that the progressive audience is still out there, but anything after the 2008 election is a bit anti-climactic. Maddow still pulls the best ratings 9 PM ratings in MSNBC history, and when you consider that the network isn’t available in as many homes as CNN and FNC, her ratings are still impressive.
MSNBC will happily take the million plus viewers that Maddow and Olbermann each pull in every night, but I do wonder how big the market is for progressive political talk? Conservatives have dominated the talk format on radio for decades. It is something they are comfortable with and used to, while liberals seem to have different viewing habits. The biggest problem MSNBC has right now is with The Ed Show, which has not caught on at all. In comparison to Ed Schultz, Maddow’s ratings are a good problem for the network to have.