Could MSNBC’s worst nightmare become true next year?
The Daily Beast is reporting that cable news legend Rachel Maddow may leave MSNBC when her contract expires in early 2022, citing six people familiar with the situation.
“Maddow, 48, is seriously considering leaving the network when her contract ends early next year as negotiations drag on and the temptation to take her brand elsewhere or start her own lucrative media company has grown,” The Beast reports.
Maddow has reportedly in recent months increasingly expressed an openness to leaving when her deal ends, “citing a desire to spend more time with her family and the toll of hosting a nightly program since 2008.”
According to the Daily Beast, she’s interested in opportunities in the streaming and podcasting space (her original podcast Bag Man has won an Emmy), both of which would allow her more freedom, time for her personal life and for other projects.
Maddow took two weeks off from her 9 p.m. show earlier this month. She returned this past Monday and promptly averaged the most viewers on cable news in the 9 p.m. hour. She informed viewers during that Monday broadcast that a two-week break she took earlier this month was the longest vacation she’s taken in her entire life.
Frankly, she might just be getting burnt out.
As readers of this site are fully aware, Rachel Maddow is one of the most popular personalities not just on cable news, but on television as a whole. She had the No. 1 show on all of cable news during the first quarter of this year, and remains among cable news’ most-watched hosts despite her network’s declining ratings.
Needless to say, her exit would be devastating for the network, which is why it appears to be bringing out the big guns in hopes of getting her to stay.
People briefed on the matter say NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell and NBCUniversal News Group chair Cesar Conde also remain focused on retaining her, and are gearing up to offer her a major contract extension in order to do so. One idea higher-ups have floated includes a reduced schedule to accommodate Maddow’s desire to lighten her hosting load.
WME president Mark Shapiro, who is repping Maddow in her negotiations with NBCU, told the Daily Beast that “nothing has been decided. We are deep into it with NBCUniversal and Rachel has an excellent relationship with them.”
When reached for comment on the Beast report, an MSNBC spokesperson told TVNewser: “We don’t comment on employee matters.”