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Rachel Maddow plans to step away from her show for a few weeks beginning this Friday, with plans to use the time to develop other projects for NBCUniversal, the MSNBC host announced on her show Monday night.
Maddow said that one of those projects is a movie adaptation of her book Bag Man, which will be produced by Lorne Michaels and directed by Ben Stiller.
“I’m going to take a little bit of time off from this show to go help with the movie. And also to work on a few other things that I have cooking with NBC right now, including a new podcast,” Maddow said in her monologue.
“So just like late night hosts sometimes go on hiatus in their shows, I’m going to go on hiatus for a little bit here from this show so I can work on some of those other projects,” she added. “In addition to the movie, the Bag Man movie and the podcast that I’m working on, the paperback of the Bag Man book is also coming out in just a few weeks, it’s coming out in April, there’s an adaptation of a different book that I want to try to make for TV as well that I’ve just started working on. There’s all this stuff I’ve been working on that I want to … work some more on.”
An MSNBC source said that that a rotating group of hosts are expected to fill in for her while she’s gone. Maddow is expected to continue appearing on special event coverage, such as the State of the Union address, which is slated to be held March 1, and she confirmed as much on her show.
Insider first reported on Maddow’s planned hiatus.
It isn’t immediately clear how long Maddow will be off her show (the source said it would be “several weeks”). However, Maddow suggested on her program that she would be back in April, which would imply that she will be out for all of February and March.
The hiatus stems from Maddow’s new deal with NBCUniversal, signed last August, that included developing a broad range of new projects for the company, with an expectation that she would cut back on her nightly MSNBC duties.
It is not immediately clear whether the hiatus (or perhaps this hiatus and potential future breaks from her show) is meant to fit that bill. MSNBC president Rashida Jones said in October of Maddow’s plans: “It is something we are working through. There is no immediate rush here.”
With Maddow’s status as MSNBC’s highest-rated host and the linchpin of its primetime lineup, a permanent departure from the 9 p.m. hour could mean serious changes to MSNBC’s fortunes. It is possible that by giving her extended breaks to focus on new projects during what would otherwise be slow times of the year, MSNBC may have found a solution to that problem … at least for now.
“There may eventually be another hiatus again sometime in my future, but for now we’re just taking it one step at a time. Again, I’ll be here through Thursday of this week then I’m going to have a few weeks off,” Maddow said Monday.
The cable news channel announced last week that Stephanie Ruhle would take over the 11 p.m. hour that was vacated by Brian Williams, with the Morning Joe team set to expand and take over the 9-10 a.m. hour.
Update 7 PM: This story has been updated with comments from Maddow on her program confirming the news.
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