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Good news for fans of Rachel Maddow: According to Insider chief media correspondent Claire Atkinson, Maddow has reached a new, multi-year deal with NBCUniversal (the parent company of MSNBC).
WME’s Mark Shapiro, who repped Maddow in the negotiation, told Atkinson he “would not comment further and declined to say how much Maddow would be paid, saying only she would have more scheduling flexibility and will be expanding on her ideas.”
However, he did say that Maddow “is staying home where she belongs with a much broader deal at NBCUniversal and couldn’t be happier.”
One of cable news’ most-watched hosts and MSNBC’s highest-rated host by a longshot, Maddow has shown an increasing amount of interest in developing projects in the streaming and podcasting space. WSJ’s Ben Mullin added that the new deal expands her opportunities at the company, “giving her the freedom to pursue a range of formats including film and TV series, according to a person familiar with the matter. Ms. Maddow is starting her own production company that will bring its potential projects to NBCUniversal first.”
None of this was guaranteed, per previous reporting. The Daily Beast reported 10 days ago that Maddow, the face of MSNBC, was “seriously considering” leaving the network once her contract expired in 2022. According to the Beast, Maddow had in recent months cited “a desire to spend more time with her family and the toll of hosting a nightly program since 2008.”
Maddow’s departure would have left a massive hole at the network. Her 9 p.m. show is among the five-highest-rated on all of cable news, and sometimes doubles its 8 p.m. lead-in. Additionally, the viewership decline after her show tends to be more severe than what Fox News and CNN experience in the 10 p.m. hour. To be frank, she’s on a bit of an island these days, ratings-wise.
In addition to earning big ratings (especially in average total viewers) and attracting a ton of interest in general, TRMS brings in a ton of money. According to Kantar data, The Rachel Maddow Show brought in more than $66 million in ad revenue in 2020. Yes, that’s down from 2019 (when the program pulled in $69.2 million), but it’s still a nice chunk of change for the network.
Getting this deal done was a must for the company, and has to represent a big sigh of relief for her significant fanbase.