MSNBC announced Monday that journalist Alex Wagner will take the helm of the network’s coveted 9 p.m. slot, taking over from Rachel Maddow, who will move to host her eponymous show only on Monday nights.
Wagner, 44, is a veteran political reporter with time spent at progressive news and opinion outlets. She even used to host a daytime news show for the network. Wagner rejoined the network this year as a senior political analyst. She’s also subbed in for both Maddow and Chris Hayes.
“I’m honored to be anchoring a key hour of television in such a critical time for American democracy,” Wagner said in a statement to Variety. “In many ways, the stakes have never been higher, and there’s no better place to explore this moment than MSNBC. I’m thrilled to be coming home.”
On Twitter, Wagner wrote, “I am absolutely thrilled and honored and generally upside down with excitement to come back home to @MSNBC to host the 9PM hour, beginning August 16th. LET'S DO THIS."
“This is not a show where our hair is on fire and we’re yelling past each other, and we’re creating these manufactured moments of tension,” MSNBC’s president, Rashida Jones, told the paper. “I really want the takeaway from this show to be a better understanding of what’s happening in the world.”
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Jones added that Wagner’s expertise will also be vital in covering the upcoming midterm elections. She told the Times that Maddow had not been consulted about her replacement.
“She pulls in perspective. She brings in some of the context throughout her discussion,” Jones told Variety. “She knows politics. She knows everything from foreign policy to culture.”
Wagner will be one of the few Asian Americans to host a prime-time news show. Previously, Wagner hosted a noontime opinion show for MSNBC from 2011 to 2015. She left after MSNBC shifted its daytime shows to hard news coverage.
In April, Maddow returned from a months-long hiatus announcing that she would have a reduced schedule. Last year, the host renewed her contract with NBCUniversal. The new contract reportedly included a multiyear deal that would allow the out anchor to develop additional projects for the company.