Earlier this year Rachel Maddow took a break from her MSNBC show hosting, saying that from January to April she would be working on other projects. “I’m going to take a little bit of time off from the show,” Maddow said at that time. “I’m nervous about all this. It’s a change in my life. But it’s all for the good.”
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In January the New York Times reported that there was speculation among some MSNBC anchors and producers that Maddow would ‘dial back her schedule to something less grueling.’
Now, just having returned from her hiatus, she announced on air that she will be taking even more time off, and her show, The Rachel Maddow Show, will change its name to MSNBC Prime with no permanent host announced as of yet.
Maddow will now be hosting the show only once a week.
There are reports that staffers are ‘panicking’ since new network president Rashida Jones has not yet announced a replacement for Maddow.
Maddow has been a top-rated host on the liberal network for nearly 14 years. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “Maddow will only host her MSNBC show on Monday nights going forward.
It’s part of a new contract she signed with the network that will allow her time to work on other projects for MSNBC and NBC, including a film version of her award-winning podcast Bag Man, directed by Ben Stiller,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
“In some ways, it’s the end of an era for MSNBC, where Maddow has hosted her popular show for nearly 14 years. It has grown into the most-watched program on the network, regularly drawing more than 2 million viewers, going toe-to-toe on most nights with Fox News host Sean Hannity (CNN remains a distant third). Not surprisingly, ratings dipped during Maddow’s hiatus earlier this year,” the report added.
There continue to be changes at MSNBC. Earlier this year, Stephanie Ruhle replaces the disgraced Brian Williams, and Conservative Brief reported that there are rumors that Jen Psaki may join the network as a host.
Ali Velshi has currently been filling in for Maddow on the show during her absence. Keith Olbermann, who had been fired from MSNBC over a decade ago, previously claimed he had been talking with NBC bosses to take over Maddow’s hosting slot, The New York Post reported.
Those talks fell flat when ‘Maddow stepped in personally to veto him as her successor,’ reported The Daily Beast. According to Mediaite, Olbermann, who had formerly been Maddow’s mentor, “now occasionally offers commentary on Twitter from a Manhattan balcony.”
During a segment on her program “The Rachel Maddow Show” last month, the host announced on air that starting in May, she will only host her show on the network once a week while she continues to work on “other projects.” Maddow said that she would only host the show once a week “…to give myself just more time to work on some of the other stuff that I’ve got cooking for MSNBC and NBC.”
“And again, this might change. We will see how things go. But that is the plan as of now. So, now you know. And we will never speak of it again. Enough of that, let’s start the show,” Maddow added, rushing through her explanation without too many details.
Maddow has stated that she is working on some projects for NBC and MSNBC including the film version of her podcast “Bag Man”. The podcast is based on her book about then vice-president Spiro Agnew’s scandal during the Watergate era.
“In addition to the movie, the Bag-Man movie, and the podcast that I’m working on, the paperback of the Bag Man book is also coming out in just a few weeks, it’s coming out in April, there’s an adaptation of a different book that I want to try to make for TV as well that I’ve just started working on,” Maddow stated.
Although reportedly a serious film, Bag Man is being directed and partially written by Ben Stiller, a popular comedian, and produced by Focus Features, part of NBC Universal owned by Philadelphia-based Comcast. One of the producers is Lorne Michaels, of Saturday Night Live fame, another comedic writer/producer.
Speaking of her project, Maddow, said “Its got a specific arc, a specific story. It’s a reported, journalistic tale. It’s not just like a jibber-jabber podcast where I chat with people and admit I haven’t done the reading.”
Watch the video here.
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Maddow has been gearing for change since last year. In 2021 she left her longtime agents and linked up with powerful talent agency Endeavor, whose CEO and president have represented her in contract negotiations with NBCUniversal.
This week, Maddow reassured her fans, “I’ll be back for the state of the union and for other big news events in the meantime.”
“And there may eventually be another hiatus again sometime in the future,” she said, “but for now, we are just taking it one step at a time.”