MSNBC’s star primetime host is making it official: She is cutting back on her hosting hours.
Rachel Maddow returned from an extended hiatus on Monday, but her return to nightly hosting will be short-lived. Maddow said at the top of her program that beginning next month, she will only be hosting her 9 p.m. program on Monday nights. Through the remainder of April, she will host Monday through Thursday.
“For big news events, like the lead up to the election, I will be here more than that, but that is the general plan,” Maddow said on her show Monday. “I will be here this month… and then starting next month, starting in May, I am going to be here weekly… to give myself more time to work on some of this other stuff I have cooking for MSNBC and other parts of NBC.”
An MSNBC spokesperson said that rotating guest hosts will fill-in for Maddow in the meantime, and that Maddow will be on-air more frequently around major news events.
Maddow signed a new long-term deal with NBCUniversal last summer, a deal that sees her producing more content for other companies within the NBCUniversal portfolio (including a movie adaptation of her book Bag Man), with an understanding that she would cut back on her nightly program. However, until her hiatus a few months ago, it wasn’t clear when that reduced primetime schedule would kick in.
Maddow did, however, leave the door open to returning to the nightly host chair in the future, telling viewers that “this might change… we’ll see how things go, but that’s the plan as of now, so now you know and we will never speak of it again.”
In October, MSNBC president Rashida Jones said that the channel was in “no immediate rush” to find a successor to Maddow, noting that the details of her schedule were still being worked out.
With Maddow now officially cutting back, the pressure will be building on MSNBC, and Maddow herself, to find a suitable replacement. With Maddow being the channel’s most-watched host by far, it’ll be no small challenge.