Rachel Maddow Partnering With Steven Spielberg to Develop Movie Based on Her Podcast

By Mark Mwachiro 

Hollywood’s relationship with the journalism business remains attached at the hip as Steven Spielberg’s production company Amblin Entertainment is partnering with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow to develop a movie based on her podcast Rachel Maddow Presents: Ultra.

Ultra is an eight-episode podcast series that focuses on the great sedition of 1944 when extremist elected officials colluded with the violent ultra-right in plotting against America and the lengths they went to cover up their tracks.

According to Deadline, Amblin Entertainment has acquired the film rights to Ultra from MSNBC and Surprise Inside, Maddow’s production company.


Spielberg, as of now, is on board as a producer of the movie alongside Maddow, Kristie Macosko Krieger for Amblin, and Mike Yarvitz for Surprise Inside. Tony Kushner and Danny Strong are in talks to co-write the screenplay.

The timeline for Ultra’s movie rights acquisition is pretty short, considering that it debuted just in October, but further cements the justification for Maddow wanting to scale back her MSNBC primetime duties from daily to weekly in favor of being able to do more premium long-form projects with NBCUniversal, including documentaries and streaming specials, movies, books, and podcasts.

Maddow, interestingly enough, isn’t the only one from the NBC News/MSNBC family making deals with Hollywood. Noah Oppenheim, NBC News president, sold a political thriller mini-series called Zero Day, which he co-wrote with friend Narcos showrunner Eric Newman, to Netflix. The series is set to star Robert De Niro in his first TV lead role ever.