By Oliver Darcy, CNN Business
MSNBC announced on Monday that Alex Wagner will take over the network’s all-important 9pm time slot four days a week.
The elevation of Wagner, made by MSNBC president Rashida Jones, is arguably the most important programming decision the network boss has made since taking over as head of the cable news channel last year.
Rachel Maddow, who had the nightly 9pm time slot, announced earlier this year that she would only host her eponymous show once a week, on Mondays, leaving a significant void in MSNBC’s prime time lineup.
For the last few months, the slot has been filled by a rotating cast of hosts the remainder of the week.
It will now be filled by Wagner.
“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.”
“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,” Jones added in a separate interview to The Times. “I really want the takeaway from this show to be a better understanding of what’s happening in the world.”
In her interview with The Times, Jones also notably said she did not consult with Maddow about who would succeed her.
Before Jones’ interviews with Variety and The Times had published, two people familiar with the matter had told CNN that Wagner had been selected for the prime time slot. An MSNBC spokesperson at the time did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Wagner, a former MSNBC anchor, returned to the network earlier this year as a senior political analyst and guest anchor.
Wagner has also been co-host of Showtime’s “The Circus” and is the author of the 2018 memoir “Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging.”
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