For those unfamiliar with the MSNBC daytime program “NOW with Alex Wagner,” a new Vogue profile on Wagner and her fiancee Sam Kass (a White House chef) captures its essence nicely (emphasis added):
[Wagner's] current job came about when Wagner was covering the Obama White House for AOL’s Politics Daily. MSNBC’s [President Phil] Griffin spotted her as a guest on Countdown and Hardball—and surprised her with an offer to host her own show. She has had to learn live TV simply by doing it. “I don’t even know what this script is,” she may declare, laughing, when it’s time to look at the teleprompter for a transition. What she lacks in polish, however, she makes up for in substance.
Wagner is 36 but when watching her show, viewers get the impression she should be hosting with pom poms in hand. Or maybe with a fuzzy pink scrunchy holding up a high ponytail atop her head.
On any given day, she comes off unprepared (“I don’t even know what this script is”!), even worse unconcerned that it may seem unprofessional. And this is supposed to be a serious show about politics and policy.
But now it makes sense. She was “surprised” with her own show, handed to her out of nowhere. And she’s basically winging it.
Wagner clearly isn’t dumb. But on her show, she comes off an unapologetic ditz.