Rachel Maddow to host live show from McHale’s in downtown Rock Hill

Rachel Maddow of MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” on set in New York.
Rachel Maddow of MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” on set in New York.

Rachel Maddow will host her MSNBC show from downtown Rock Hill on Thursday night, live from McHale’s Irish Pub, the network announced late Friday.

“The Rachel Maddow Show” brings its crew and one of primetime TV’s top political commentators to Rock Hill next week ahead of the Democratic presidential forum hosted by Winthrop University, the South Carolina Democratic Party and MSNBC on Nov. 6. The Friday night forum will be held at Byrnes Auditorium on Winthrop’s campus and air live at 8 p.m.

Maddow will interview former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. Tickets for the event have already been allocated.

MSNBC will also broadcast a special edition of Chris Matthews’ “Hardball” from Winthrop at 6 p.m. Friday, with co-host Steve Kornacki. After the forum, Maddow and Matthews will co-host a post-forum analysis show from campus, according to MSNBC. That broadcast will air live from 10-11 p.m.

Maddow’s Thursday night show broadcast from McHale’s will air on MSNBC at 9 p.m. The show re-airs at midnight.

This month, Maddow’s weeknight news show topped CNN during its time slot for total viewers and beat out the Cable News Network in the key age 25 to 54 demographic.

She joined MSNBC in 2008 as a political analyst. Maddow can tout having the network’s most successful show launch ever in September 2008 when “The Rachel Maddow Show” debuted.

Maddow announced the special Rock Hill broadcast during her Friday night show, live from MSNBC’s New York studios.

McHale’s General Manager Chris Routh said Friday he plans to have about 120 seats open to the public the night of the broadcast but that number is subject to change, depending on production needs. Some seating will be available upstairs and downstairs with table service for customers.

Maddow’s crew will set up with the TV host sitting near the front of the restaurant, facing East Main Street, Routh said.

“We’re very excited – this is as good for Old Town (downtown Rock Hill), as it is for McHale’s itself,” he said.

Routh is requesting that interested customers not arrive early in the afternoon to claim seats for viewing the broadcast. The public entrance to the bar and restaurant that day will be at the rear of the building, accessible from the Black Street parking lot behind McHale’s and the city parking garage nearby.

McHale’s will feed the Maddow show crew that night and the Rock Hill Police Department will provide security, Routh said. He anticipates East Main Street in front of the restaurant will be open to vehicle and foot traffic though MSNBC’s truck and equipment may take up some on-street parking.

Routh says his staff may consider naming a menu item after Maddow after she’s gone and would like a photo to display in the restaurant to mark the occasion after the MSNBC crew rolls out of town. But, the decor and the pub atmosphere won’t undergo major changes for the sake of the broadcast, he said.

“MSNBC wants us to keep McHale’s (as) McHale’s – that’s the way they like it.”

Other Democratic Party events

The South Carolina Democratic Party will host two other events at Winthrop on Nov. 6:

▪ S.C. Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, will lead a town hall meeting called “The New South: Shifting Cultural Norms,” from 1 to 3:30 p.m. in Winthrop’s Dina’s Place theater, located in the DiGiorgio Campus Center. The event is free.

Cobb-Hunter is chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Southern Caucus, serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, and previously served as House minority leader.

The Nov. 6 town hall lineup includes: the Rev. William Barber, organizer of North Carolina's “Moral Monday” movement protesting cuts to social programs, voting rights changes, and restrictions to abortion rights; the Rev. Ralph Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church; Laura Cahue, member of Somos SC and Young Immigrants in Action; Nekki Shutt, a South Carolina attorney active in the same-sex marriage equality movement; and Louis Elrod, president of Young Democrats of America.

To attend, visitors should register through Eventbrite online by searching for “DNC Southern Caucus Town Hall.”

▪ South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison will host an installment of the S.C. Democratic Party’s “Chair Chats” series with nine other Democratic Party state leaders from across the Southeast.

The event will feature state party chairs from Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. No registration is required. Seats are first-come, first-serve in Dina’s Place. “Chair Chats” is scheduled from 4 to 5 p.m. Nov. 6.