Rachel Maddow: MSNBC's Smart Hire

A look at what's making her successful

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The ratings for MSNBC's newest news show host are wildly impressive. Last week, her second on the air, Rachel Maddow pulled ahead of Larry King and even bested Keith Olbermann's Countdown a couple of nights. Maddow, an Air America radio host and MSNBC contributor, was given her own show after the politics-heavy channel dropped Dan Abrams's legal show Verdict.

Here are a few things Maddow's doing that are good examples for anyone starting a new job:

Avoiding office gossip. She told the San Francisco Chronicle that she doesn't follow "media issues," when asked about the channel's move to cut Olbermann and Chris Matthews from straight election coverage.

Not giving up her private life. She also told the Chronicle that she does not own a television. It sounds crazy, but she explains: "If there is a TV on in the room, I can't have a conversation with you. I won't eat, I won't sleep. I'll just meld with my couch."

Breaking with tradition. She's hosting only one guest at a time. Last night, we heard one-on-one interviews with Newsweek's Michael Isikoff, Los Angeles Times columnist Rosa Brooks, and others. That's the point—we heard them.

Disagreeing openly but staying civil. Conservative Pat Buchanan has a regular segment on her show called "It's Pat." He and Maddow argue the issues, but they don't insult each other.


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