Rachel Maddow is taking a hiatus from her prime time MSNBC show.
Starting this week, the liberal host will take a break from anchoring her nightly show in order to focus on other projects, according to multiple reports.
“The Rachel Maddow Show,” which airs at 9 p.m. ET Monday through Friday on Comcast-owned MSNBC, is the network’s top-rated show by far. The program is the most-watched cable news show outside of Fox News shows.
Maddow has hosted the program since 2008, cultivating a loyal following of viewers hungry for her liberal takes on the political landscape.
Maddow will announce her hiatus on Monday, and it will begin on Friday. A slate of several hosts are expected to take turns filling in for the host during her break.
In the meantime, she has plans to work on several projects for NBCUniversal, including a new podcast and a movie based on her book, Bag Man, which delves into the scandal that dogged and eventually forced the resignation of former U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew. Ben Stiller will reportedly direct the movie, a Focus Features production, and Maddow will executive produce the film.
Maddow will not completely disappear from the network during her break, though. She will return briefly to her show during the next few weeks for MSNBC special events including President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, which is scheduled for March 1.
The news of Maddow’s break from hosting comes after she signed a new contract with MSNBC in the summer, following reports and rumors that she had considered leaving the network, perhaps to start her own media company.
Maddow’s new contract involves paying her an eye-popping $30 million a year to keep her at MSNBC through the 2024 election.
Even though she has decided to stay at MSNBC, however, Maddow is reportedly about to become less visible, at least on screen.
Starting in the spring, Maddow is expected to scale back her show from airing every weeknight to a weekly show that will air about 30 weeks of the year. Maddow reportedly wanted to have more time with her family, and that issue was a dealbreaker for the anchor in negotiations.
Maddow’s shifting role at MSNBC is not the only shakeup the network has experienced in recent months.
Last week, MSNBC announced that Stephanie Ruhle will replace veteran anchor Brian Williams for the network’s 11 p.m. ET news broadcast. Williams previously anchored NBC’s “Nightly News” but was ousted in 2015 for falsely claiming that in 2003 while he was covering the Iraq War, he was in a helicopter that was forced down by enemy fire, among other fabricated stories.
In addition, MSNBC said that “Morning Joe,” hosted by married couple Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, will expand from a three-hour broadcast to four hours.
In 2017, Maddow was criticized for overhyping that she “got Trump tax returns,” only to produce two pages from former President Trump’s 2005 1040 form on her show that evening. The information in the two pages did not produce the damning information her viewers appeared to be waiting for.
Maddow later defended her approach after the anti-climactic broadcast.
“Because I have information about the president doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a scandal,” she said at the time. “It doesn’t mean that it’s damning information. If other people leapt to that conclusion without me indicating that it was, that hype is external to what we did.”