It looks like Rachel Maddow may finally want to buy a television. News broke yesterday that the (smarty)pants-wearing political commentator will host her own MSNBC show starting Sept. 8. Rumors had been swirling that Rachel was on a “very short list” to host her own show since last month. And, after her triumphant guest-hosting gigs on “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” recently, she is now America's first and only openly gay woman to host a prime-time news show. Let's let that sink in for a second, shall we? Really let it swirl on the tongue and savor the flavor. Mmm, sweet.
Rachel will take the 9 p.m. timeslot behind “Countdown” now occupied by “Verdict With Dan Abrams.” Besides making gay history, Rachel also joins only a small handful of women to host prime-time news shows. Seriously, try to think of five women who host their own news shows in under 10 seconds. Start...now. How many did you get? Yes, the awesome Gwen Ifill. No, the wretched Nancy Grace does not count. Harder than you think, eh?
Rachel's promotion also defies the Barbie-caster mentality that pervades most network newsrooms. She isn't a wafer-thin blonde model type who can read a teleprompter. (Not that all wafer-thin blonde model types are stupid. Case in point, Lara Logan. ) Still Rachel is practically the antithesis of what we've come to expect on TV. She is a short-haired, boxy jacket wearing, totally completely gay woman who is also smart as all get out (Rhodes Scholar, hello). She is, in short, the last person on earth you thought would break into the upper echelon of the boy's club of political reporting. Yet, there she is. Atta girl.
The more I think about it, perhaps in an odd way it is because of her obvious gayness that she made it in the first place. She was the “liberal lesbian” they could pit against some crusty old conservative coot. And since the fellas tend to get so terribly distracted whenever a (stereotypically) attractive woman walks into a room, it worked. Think I'm kidding? Heck, even the gay, er, gray ones like Anderson Cooper aren't immune. Seriously, go watch him flirt and flit with Erica Hill. Just go paint each other's toenails and get it over with, you two. Or maybe, possibly Rachel's new gig means that America has warmed up to the idea of a smart, funny lesbian telling them important things. After all, they already have a smart, funny, short-haired, pant-wearing lesbian keeping them company in the afternoon. So why not go from the daytime blonde to a nighttime brunette? Looks like I've got a 9 p.m. date.
p.s. Isn't she cute when she blushes?