After a hiatus, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow returned to the air Monday, and she made an announcement: Starting next month, she will be doing her prime-time show only once a week.
After working her customary five nights a week for the rest of April, Maddow said, she will work on Monday nights only starting in May. The network said it will rotate guest hosts the other four weeknights on a show called “MSNBC Prime.”
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“For big news events, for things like the leadup to the election, I will of course be here more than that, but that is the general plan,” Maddow said on her show Monday.
The cable news network’s most popular personality had been on hiatus for the past two months, working on a new podcast and a movie adaptation of her book “Bag Man,” a historical account of Spiro Agnew’s time as vice president.
Maddow said the weekly schedule will give her “more time to work on some of this other stuff I’ve got cooking for MSNBC and NBC.”
She also heaped praise on Ali Velshi, who had filled in frequently for her while she was away, calling him a “prince among men.”
Watch the video here —
Rachel Maddow returns and sings the praises of @AliVelshi for doing such a great job of filling in for her, " I'm telling you, you should be so lucky to ever have a coworker as great as Ali Velshi." pic.twitter.com/8j8aEw8Mwo
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) April 12, 2022
MSNBC’s ratings in her time slot tumbled in her absence, even with its rolling coverage of a gripping news event, the Ukraine war. MSNBC is not alone in questions about its 9 p.m. Eastern hour: CNN hasn’t named a full-time replacement for its former ratings leader, Chris Cuomo, since he was fired in December.
Meanwhile, Fox News Channel has seen more success in its earlier timeslots than in its 9 p.m. timeslot, according to Nielsen data.
Her plan leaves MSNBC executives in an awkward spot. While it has been reported that MSNBC signed a new contract with Maddow that gives her additional flexibility, executives have not publicly addressed that deal, or Maddow’s announcement Monday. It seems, at least for the time being, the network will be happy to get as much as it can from Maddow and leave the light on if she someday decides to do more.
Maddow said she had originally thought she might need another hiatus from her show this year but has determined that she won’t.
Still, Maddow’s fans took to Twitter to mourn the loss of her nightly presence.
Take a look —
— Alex Preiss (@AlexPreiss4) April 12, 2022
That’s unfortunate. I really enjoyed her show. I’m sure I’m one of many who are disappointed and will miss her unique approach to delivering the news of the day. I’m bummed
— patty bills snyder🇺🇦 (@pbsphxaz) April 12, 2022
Please …god help us ..please tell me something completely different than this…like all cable news, legacy news, news programming, local news, analysis and punditry is being replaced worldwide by classic comedies, film noir and the yule log.
— James Martini (@JamesLMartini) April 12, 2022
The Horn News first reported on Maddow’s plans for a hiatus in August 2021.
Yet, even before announcing her hiatus, Maddow admitted to feeling fatigued by the workload of her live, nightly broadcast.
“It’s really tiring,” she told Rolling Stone in 2017. “I have the best staff in news, but it’s hard to keep people for the long haul. Our work tempo is so exhausting. It’s just hard.”
The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article.