Will Out Anchor Rachel Maddow Leave MSNBC?

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Sunday August 15, 2021
Originally published on August 13, 2021

In this Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 file photo, MSNBC television anchor Rachel Maddow, host of the Rachel Maddow Show, moderates a panel at a forum called "Perspectives on National Security," at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, on the campus of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass.
In this Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 file photo, MSNBC television anchor Rachel Maddow, host of the Rachel Maddow Show, moderates a panel at a forum called "Perspectives on National Security," at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, on the campus of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass.   (Source:AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

Out MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow is considering a change: Reports say Maddow is in negotiations to remain at MSNBC with the end of her contract next year, but that she could be moving on.

The news was initially broken by The Daily Beast. (Story is behind a paywall.)

"Maddow, who is being counseled in talks by Mark Shapiro, president of the large Endeavor talent-representation holding company, as well as Ari Emanuel, the company's CEO, is mulling work-life balance and other possible media ventures as she considers her next steps," Variety reported.

" 'Nothing has been decided,' Shapiro said in a statement provided by Endeavor. 'We are deep into it with NBCUniversal and Rachel has an excellent relationship with them,' " the Variety article added.

Maddow has been a fixture on MSNBC since 2008, when "The Rachel Maddow Show" debuted, Wikipedia notes, but has been associated with MSNBC since 2005. She is one of only a handful of openly LGBTQ+ news anchors at major broadcast news outlets, and the first one to be openly lesbian.

If Maddow were to leave her post at MSNBC, the article continued, "it's not clear " who might take her place — though, the article noted, MSNBC "has launched a bevy of new 'perspective' hosts in recent months," any of whom could potentially be in the running.

As for her own future prospects, Maddow has proven herself capable of a number roles. She is a proven author and podcaster; CNN posited that a post-MSNBC career might comprise "A multimedia smorgasbord fit for the Substack era, built around direct relationships with paying subscribers.

"One of the sources said newsletters, podcasts and streaming TV shows have all been discussed," CNN added.

"With a subscription model, Maddow wouldn't be making a guaranteed sum of money, like she will if she renews her contract with MSNBC, but if she successfully converts many of her television viewers into subscribers, she could make a whole lot more," CNN added, noting that other media personalities "have launched direct-to-consumer businesses in recent years."

Her departure would "be a serious blow" to MSNBC, CNN added: "Maddow is the channel's tentpole star, drawing a larger audience than any other single host."

However, "ratings across the cable news networks have fallen sharply since last year, when a presidential election, the pandemic lockdowns and the the spectacle of Donald Trump's presidency were attention draws," Deadline noted.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.