Aug 23, 2021 - Economy

Rachel Maddow signs multiyear deal to expand her role to "studio boss"

Rachel Maddow.

Rachel Maddow in 2019. Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Rachel Maddow reached a multiyear deal with NBCUniversal that takes her from being MSNBC show host to content brand and "studio boss," as a source put it.

Why it matters: On top of "The Rachel Maddow Show," she'll run an as-yet-unnamed production company that could include books, documentaries, movies, TV series and podcasts.

  • Much of the output will be nonfiction. But her empire includes anything where she's "a purveyor of great storytelling," the source said.

The big picture: Maddow's renewal marks a major win for new NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Cesar Conde, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.

Suitors included WarnerMedia (including Warner Bros. and CNN), Disney (including ABC and ESPN), Netflix and Spotify, the source said.

  • Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel and President Mark Shapiro were her new reps for the deal.

Between the lines: Maddow loves her day job and her staff, but wanted a bigger role and to stretch her brand.

  • She's MSNBC's top-rated host, and there's no succession plan. So the channel needed to keep her for the 2024 election.
  • Now she'll hire staff to unearth projects and find source material in the vein of "Bag Man," her podcast and N.Y. Times bestseller about Spiro Agnew, who resigned as Richard Nixon's vice president.

The bottom line: As the definitions of media, content, distributions and platforms all change, the Maddow brand now has more outlets than ever.

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