Rachel Maddow is taking a hiatus from her MSNBC show
Rachel Maddow, MSNBC’s most popular prime-time host, is taking a two-month hiatus from her nightly program starting next week.
Maddow, who signed a new deal with the cable news channel’s parent company NBCUniversal earlier this month, is expected to tell viewers Monday that she will take time off to work on podcast and film projects. Two people familiar with the plans who were not authorized to comment publicly said she would return in April.
Viewers should get used to Maddow’s absences. While her new deal keeps her at NBCUniversal for several years, she is expected to leave her MSNBC time slot before the summer.
Maddow is expected to show up during special event coverage on MSNBC, including President Biden’s upcoming State of the Union address.
But the clock is clearly ticking for MSNBC executives who need to find a replacement for the progressive-leaning news channel’s top-rated talent, whose program is the tent pole for its prime time lineup.
Maddow’s hiatus, first reported by the website Insider, will give MSNBC a glimpse of how the network will perform in the ratings without her.
Kornacki becomes a multi-hyphenate with roles at NBC Sports and a prime-time game show in addition to MSNBC.
Ari Melber, who anchors the 6 p.m. Eastern hour, will be one of Maddow’s fill-ins while she’s away in February and March. Weekend host Ayman Mohyeldin will also get time in Maddow’s chair.
Maddow’s anticipated departure comes amid ongoing changes at the channel, which battles CNN for second place in the ratings behind Fox News.
MSNBC recently announced Stephanie Ruhle as the host of “The 11th Hour,” replacing Brian Williams, who left NBC News last year.
The network also is adding another hour of opinion programming as “Morning Joe,” hosted by Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist, expands to four hours to absorb Ruhle’s current 9 a.m. Eastern hour.
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