MSNBC releases Alex Wagner’s show’s name, initial look

MSNBC has released the name and key art for the four-day-a-week replacement for “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

The network selected the name “Alex Wagner Tonight” for the Tuesday through Friday show that will take over the 9 p.m. eastern timeslot previously occupied by “Maddow.”

MSNBC had previously announced Alex Wagner, who had anchored at the network from 2011 to 2015, would become host of the 9 p.m. hour for the days Rachel Maddow isn’t on air.

“Wagner” will debut Aug. 16, 2022.

MSNBC is currently airing an hour branded as “MSNBC Prime” in the slot. The show has been filled with a rotating cast of anchors and uses graphics inspired by the “Maddow” look and largely followed that show’s format. 

“Alex Wagner Tonight” appears to be eschewing that design, instead leveraging a starry night sky design in blue with a hint of warmer shades.

The show’s logotype, as shown in the graphics the network released, features the host’s first name tucked into the space above the last five lowercase letters in her last name. The word “Tonight” is placed in all caps italics in the space between the descender of the “g” in “Wagner” and the base of the “r.”

Also included in the initial look released Aug. 2, 2022, is imagery of Rockefeller Center and perhaps other buildings.

Advertisement

There’s also an eye-catching glowing vertical laser-line divider element. 

The new look isn’t necessarily the final design the show will use but the logo and graphics are likely to be along the lines of what was released Aug. 2.

The somewhat unique four-day-a-week format comes as part of a deal Maddow reached with NBCUniversal earlier in 2022 to remain with the network at a reported $30 million deal.

Her new contract calls for her only to appear on MSNBC one day a week — Mondays — as well as anchoring key coverage such as election coverage, so the network had to come up with a solution to fill the rest of the week.

Maddow was reportedly looking to cut back her schedule in order to pursue other projects. Earlier in 2022 she returned from a hiatus that she took to allow herself to venture into filmmaking. 

So far, the arrangement has resulted in lower ratings than when Maddow is behind the anchor desk, with some Tuesday through Friday timeslots down as much as 30%. 

Maddow continues to be one of MSNBC’s strongest performing shows, though it is still dominated by Fox’s conservative commentary channel’s lineup. Wagner will now face the challenge of stepping into Maddow’s spot and hopefully building up loyalty among viewers.

Sign up for NewscastStudio's weekly newsletter.Our weekly newsletter delivers the latest broadcast industry news to your inbox including new debuts, case studies, thought leadership and broadcast gear updates.