The Rachel Maddow Show (also abbreviated TRMS) is a daily news and opinion television program that airs on MSNBC, running in the 9:00 pm ET timeslot Monday through Friday. It is hosted by Rachel Maddow, who gained popularity with her frequent appearances as a liberalpundit on various MSNBC programs. It is based on her former radio show of the same name. The show debuted on September 8, 2008.
The Rachel Maddow Show debuted on September 8, 2008, with 1,543,000 viewers (483,000 of whom were in the 25–54 demographic). Early reviews for her show were mostly positive. Los Angeles Times journalist Matea Gold stated that Maddow "finds the right formula on MSNBC", while The Guardian wrote that Maddow has become the "star of America's cable news".Associated Press columnist David Bauder called her Keith Olbermann's "political soul mate" and referred to the Olbermann/Maddow shows as a two-hour "liberal...block".New York Times writer Alessandra Stanley opined: "Her program adds a good-humored female face to a cable news channel whose prime time is dominated by unruly, often squabbling schoolboys; Ms. Maddow's deep, modulated voice is reassuringly calm after so much shrill emotionalism and catfights among the channel's aging, white male divas".
On September 16, 2008, the show drew 1,801,000 viewers (with 534,000 in the 25–54 demographic), beating Larry King Live and becoming the highest-rated MSNBC show of the night. Maddow's ratings success on September 16 prompted many of her MSNBC colleagues on Morning Joe to congratulate her on the air, including Joe Scarborough, who said it was "just one of those times where good people do well". In the month of March 2009 the average number of viewers dropped to 1.1 million, part of a general trend in the ratings decline for cable news programs. During the third quarter of 2009, the show was ranked in third place behind Fox News's Hannity and CNN's Larry King Live. The average total number of viewers for the show's airtimes during this period was 992,000.
During the first quarter of 2010, Maddow's show pulled well ahead of Larry King Live, regularly beating the show in overall and primetime ratings, becoming the second-highest rated program in its time slot, behind only Fox News's Hannity. The show continued its lead during the second quarter of 2010, staying well ahead of CNN's Larry King Live for the third consecutive quarter, and topping the show in both primetime and overall ratings.
In September 2012, Maddow viewership in the 25–54 demographic topped that of Hannity on Monday and Tuesday and in the demographic's daily average for the week, though not in the week's cumulative viewership for the time slot. The week was MSNBC's strongest since February 2009. At the time, the network regularly ranked "a distant second" to Fox News viewership.
In May 2013, the show delivered its lowest-rated month since it debuted in September 2008 (717,000 total viewers) and its second-lowest with adults 25–54 (210,000). Maddow was topped by both FNC's Hannity and CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight.
In November 2013, during the off-year election coverage, Maddow was "up significantly, averaging second place in both measures with 1.267 million viewers and 313,000 adults 25–54". This placed the Maddow Show second, running behind Fox News' Megyn Kelly, but ahead of CNN's Piers Morgan Live.
For the week beginning February 13, 2017, Maddow’s 9 pm ET show averaged 2.5 million total viewers, giving the host her best single week since just before the 2008 election, when the program pulled in an average of 2.6 million. This also gives the show its second best week ever. In February TRMS was watched by the most viewers in the show's nine-year history.
On March 14, 2017, Maddow revealed the first two pages of Donald Trump's 2005 federal tax return on her show. The documents were originally obtained by journalist David Cay Johnston, who was a guest on her show that night. Before the program aired, the White House released a statement acknowledging that Trump paid $38 million in federal income taxes that year. The White House also accused MSNBC of "violating the law".
In March 2018, The Rachel Maddow Show was the highest rated cable news show, besting Fox News's Hannity: "Maddow averaged 3.058 million viewers for the month, narrowly topping Hannity’s 3.00 million."