Inside MSNBC: Rachel Maddow Nixed Keith Olbermann’s Return, Approved Her MSNBC Replacement Alex Wagner

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Jul. 11 2022, Published 12:24 p.m. ET

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MSNBC’s search to replace their most high-profile host, Rachel Maddow, ended because Maddow herself finally approved of Alex Wagner, who will take her seat.

“Several big names that were suggested were rejected by Rachel. She was insisting that a ‘fresh-faced’ woman take over her primetime slot rather than bring in a higher profiled name who presents the past, not the future,” sources tell Radar. “Katie Couric and former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann were both names Maddow couldn’t get behind.”

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Insiders add that initially, Maddow wanted her replacement to be a person of color or a member of the LGBTQ community.

“Representation matters to Rachel. Growing up she never saw an openly gay woman on TV. This is personal to Rachel, and she wasn’t going to let an old white man replace her,” adds a friend. “Alex Wagner isn’t gay, but she also isn’t white. Rachel likes her and let’s be honest, it is Rachel’s team who is producing Wagner’s new show. So basically, Rachel is the boss.”

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“I’m honored to be anchoring a key hour of television in such a critical time for American democracy,” said Wagner at the time the news was announced.

“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.”

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Wagner will take over Maddow’s old Tuesday through Friday at 9 PM time slot starting in August.

As previously reported, Wagner taking over has rubbed other anchors the wrong way. Sources said when MSNBC boss Rashida Jones made the announcement both Chuck Todd and Stephanie Ruhle were upset.

The network's decision didn't make Chuck happy who had recently been told his show Meet The Press Daily was being moved off MSNBC and onto its streaming service.

A network insider also told us that Stephanie felt slighted by Wagner being appointed only one month after she was named Brian Williams' successor for The 11th Hour.

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