Is Rachel Maddow leaving MSNBC? Anchor's fans urge her to stay: 'The nation needs her voice'
Internet is fuming that Maddow may no longer appear on MSNBC, asks management to 'get its head out of its ass' after reports emerge of a shift
Since June 2005, Rachel Maddow has been such a regular fixture on MSNBC, you'd be forgiven for mistaking her as the face of the network. The way Lionel Messi represented Barcelona, for decades, Maddow has been a part of the MSNBC family. But, just like Messi had to leave his beloved club, it seems Maddow too will be forced to exit. A new report claims Maddow is now eyeing a future beyond MSNBC, with her contract due to end in 2022.
While Maddow has been well-known since the 2010s, she's made a lot of headlines over the last few years for her reportage on Covid-19 and the Trump administration. In January 2021, Dr Anthony Fauci revealed he was "blocked" from appearing on her show by the Trump administration. The former president wasn't the only person to pick a bone with Maddow. In May 2021, Fox host Megyn Kelly made fun of Maddow for her interview with CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky. That emotional interview was made months after Maddow's partner Susan Mikula fell sick from Covid-19 in 2020, giving the anchor a first-hand look at the deadly disease.
While she has routinely butted heads with Republicans and the Trump administration, Maddow will perhaps be best remembered for her numerous Emmy Awards and even one Grammy. With all those accolades to her name, will Maddow really leave MSNBC? Unfortunately for viewers, that appears to be the case.
Maddow 'seriously considering' leaving
The breaking news was first reported by The Daily Beast, who was told of Maddow's plans by six insiders close to the anchor. According to The Beast, "Maddow is seriously considering leaving the network when her contract ends early next year as negotiations drag on." As the highest-rated anchor on the network, that would be a massive blow to MSNBC. Retaining Maddow is reportedly a top priority for Rashida Jones, who took over as president of MSNBC in February.
Reportedly, Maddow earns around $7m from MSNBC but has managed to find considerable success elsewhere in recent years. She's the author of the New York Times bestseller, 'Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power', and the podcast series 'Bag Man' to name a few. All these other ventures have reportedly given Maddow "the temptation to take her brand elsewhere or start her own lucrative media company has grown." As CNN reported, Maddow could turn to the lucrative offerings of platforms like Substack "built around direct relationships with paying subscribers." Other options include newsletters, podcasts, and streaming TV shows and have reportedly been discussed.
But it's not just money Maddow's after, going solo would give her more time to spend with her family, a key priority after the scare she got in 2020 when Mikula was diagnosed with Covid-19. Reportedly, Maddow "has a reputation as a very hard worker behind the scenes, pouring herself into scripts and segments in the hours leading up to 9 p.m. Eastern." Stepping down from the nightly show would give her an opportunity to have more personal time. Going solo seems to be the more likely option, as the anchor "seems unlikely to jump to a rival television news network."
The news isn't an unexpected one, in recent months Maddow has made it clear she is seriously considering her future at MSNBC. Recently, she left her longtime agents at Napoli Management Group, linking up with powerful talent agency Endeavor. She's also been more open about burnout, telling The New York Times in 2019, "it’s not good for you to work incessant long days, five days a week, 50 weeks a year for 10 years." MSNBC is reportedly taking the rumors seriously and is working hard to retain the anchor. Reportedly, management has floated the idea of a reduced schedule to lighten her load. Discussions of a replacement are also premature, with names like Lawrence O’Donnell and Chris Hayes doubted as the ideal substitutes should the negotiations fail.
'Maddow must be retained at all costs'
Social media has not taken the news well and appears to be angry and upset that Maddow will be leaving. "MSNBC needs to get its head out of its ass and offer Rachel Maddow anything she wants to extend her contract. This isn't complicated," one person tweeted. Another said, "Maddow must be retained at all COSTS. She's the only thing that keeps me hanging on most days. Give her all the things."
MSNBC needs to get its head out of its ass and offer Rachel Maddow anything she wants to extend her contract. This isn't complicated.— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) August 12, 2021
One person tweeted, "I hope she knows that the nation needs her voice and her presence on a major network. She has become a trusted touchstone. We need that right now." One user said, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! OK @MSNBC do not screw this up! Give Rachel whatever she wants and do it early so we don’t have this anxiety!" Another said, "One the few shows that speaks to us as adults. Give her whatever she wants. Perhaps less days, some specials, $$$$$$$!!!"
I hope she knows that the nation needs her voice and her presence on a major network. She has become a trusted touchstone.— Carolyn Harber (@CarolynHarber) August 13, 2021
We need that right now.
One the few shows that speaks to us as adults. Give her whatever she wants. Perhaps less days, some specials, $$$$$$$!!!— Anna LP (@AMLopezPugsley) August 12, 2021
It's not confirmed that Maddow is leaving, as Endeavor president Mark Shapiro was clear to say. "Nothing has been decided. We are deep into it with NBCUniversal and Rachel has an excellent relationship with them," he told The Beast. However, given the lucrative nature of streaming and podcasting, it shouldn't come as a surprise if Maddow does indeed decide to leave cable TV. From Substack to Spotify, there are plenty of avenues out there to explore, and she clearly has the brand power to do so.