Rachel Maddow will keep hosting her top-rated show on MSNBC for at least another year, as ‘heated’ negotiations scored the host a cushy transition into a weekly format.
The multi-year deal will let Maddow – who is said to earn $7 million a year – develop new projects at the cable channel and outside of it with parent company NBCUniversal, according to Business Insider.
It will also see her transition her five-day-a-week show into just one day a week sometime next year, sources told CNN.
It’s not known how much of a pay rise Maddow received, but the 48-year-old former Rhodes Scholar has talked about streaming and podcasting as a way to offset the toll of hosting a nightly show since 2008, according to the Daily Beast.
In 2013, Maddow was making $7 million a year according to a TV Guide survey, though that figure has almost certainly grown since.
She was ‘seriously’ considering leaving for another network or starting her own media company, but MSNBC took major steps to keep her on board, the Daily Beast reported, with higher-ups recommending a reduced schedule to accommodate Maddow’s burnout.
Maddow wants more ‘freedom, time for her personal life, and for other projects,’ people familiar with her thinking told the website.
Her 9 pm time slot competes directly with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, the leader of the ratings scoreboard, and fellow liberal Chris Cuomo of CNN. Cuomo has taken a hit after his brother Andrew’s sex scandal led him to resign as governor of New York earlier this month, with Maddow regularly beating him in the ratings.
For the month of July, she came in second in ratings after Hannity.
The trend held steady on August 19, when the conservative Hannity scored 3.3 million viewers, a full million more than Maddow’s 2.28 million, according to AdWeek.
Still, she beat CNN’s Chris Cuomo’s who clocked in 969,000 viewers.
Maddow was represented by agent Ari Emanuel, the CEO of Endeavor, who also represents Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
In a New York Times Magazine article from 2019, Maddow lamented how much she worked while on her way to Raoul’s, a French bistro with a $54 steak entree, in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan.
‘I’m realizing now – 10, 11 years into this – that it’s fine to work long days,’ she said.
‘But it’s not good for you to work incessant long days, five days a week, 50 weeks a year for 10 years.’
At the time, she edged out Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, who made $6 million a year. CNN’s Chris Cuomo made about $2.5 million a year at the time.
Maddow graduated from Stanford University in 1994 and got her PhD in politics at Oxford in 2001.
She has been with her partner Susan Mikula since 1999.
Maddow was off the air for almost two weeks after Mikula got COVID-19 last year.
‘Susan has been sick with COVID these past couple of weeks,’ she told her audience while broadcasting from home on November 19, 2020.
‘And, at one point, we really thought that there was a possibility that it might kill her. And that’s why I’ve been away.’
She warned her viewers to do their best to avoid contracting the virus.
‘It won’t necessarily be you. It’ll be the person you most care about in the world. And how can you bear that? And all you can do to stop that is move heaven and earth to not get it and to not transmit it.’