MSNBC has named a permanent successor for its struggling 9 p.m. ET primetime weeknight slot now that longtime anchor Rachel Maddow has shifted to a one-day-per-week format.

Alex Wagner will anchor MSNBC’s 9 p.m. hour on Tuesdays through Fridays beginning on August 16, the network confirmed in a press release. MSNBC said the program’s name will be revealed at a later date.

“Alex Wagner in the 9pm hour was a clear choice. Her unique perspective—built on more than two decades in journalism—and tenacious reporting in the U.S. and abroad will help our audiences contextualize what matters,” MSNBC President Rashida Jones said in a statement. “I am looking forward to watching Alex thrive in MSNBC’s primetime lineup.”

Wagner will also contribute to special coverage events, including MSNBC’s broadcasts of the 2022 midterm elections. MSNBC noted she will be the only Asian American to host a primetime cable news program.

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

Rachel Maddow will continue to host her MSNBC show on Monday nights.
Rachel Maddow will continue to host her MSNBC show on Monday nights.
Walt Disney Television via Getty

Maddow, who has stepped back from full-time hosting duties to pursue other projects, will continue to anchor her show on Monday nights, according to the report. She will also anchor coverage during major news events, as she did last week after the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Wagner, 44, rejoined the left-leaning network earlier this year as a senior political analyst and guest anchor. She has stepped in as a guest host for both “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “All In With Chris Hayes” since signing with MSNBC.

She also served stints as an anchor at CBS News and a previous run at MSNBC as host of a daytime show.

As The Post previously reported, MSNBC has been mired in a ratings slump in its 9 p.m. time slot — especially on nights when Maddow doesn’t anchor. “MSNBC Prime” has significantly trailed “The Rachel Maddow Show” in viewership since Maddow’s shift to once-per-week appearances.

MSNBC’s primetime ratings have outpaced those of fellow left-of-center network CNN, but have trailed far behind those of Fox News and its 9 p.m. opinion program “Hannity.”

Maddow, whose deal with MSNBC is said to be worth about $30 million per year, took a weeks-long hiatus earlier this year and said she would shift her focus to other initiatives, including a film adaptation of her podcast “Bag Man,” which maps the downfall of disgraced Vice President Spiro Agnew in the early 1970s.

“This has been in the works for a while now, but it looks like it’s going to happen,” Maddow said at the time. “I am super excited about it and I am going to take a little bit of time off from this show to go help with the movie and also to work on some other things that I have cooking with NBC right now, including a new podcast.”


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Tyler Cowan