Rachel Maddow will only appear once per week starting in May

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MSNBC’s plan for Rachel Maddow’s future at the network has become a bit clearer — starting in May 2022, she’ll move to hosting only on Mondays.

Maddow launched “The Rachel Maddow Show” in September of 2008 and it’s been a five-day-a-week affair since then.

However, starting in May, it will become a once-a-week outing. The network has settled on Monday nights, which could allow Maddow to analyze the past week’s news, including anything that happened over the weekend, as well as preview the week to come.

What we don’t know is what MSNBC’s permanent plan is for the Tuesday through Friday 9 p.m. timeslot. In the meantime, the network plans to use rotating guest hosts, though it’s not clear if the hour will retain the “Maddow” name the entire week.

Hosts such as Ali Velshi and recent re-hire Alex Wagner have been among the recent fill-ins. The network has also been busy launching weekend shows that could be seen as a way to test and foster potential new talent.

Maddow announced the news Monday, April 11, 2022, her first day back at work after taking an extended hiatus to work on other projects, including contributing to a Ben Stiller-directed film about Spiro Agnew called “Bag Man.”

Maddow’s deal with MSNBC was nearing expiration and she reportedly had her team reach out to other networks, including possibly CNN, to see if there was interest in hiring her. NBCUniversal, however, ultimately ended up shelling out a reported $30 million a year contract that represented a significant hike.

However, part of that deal, somewhat ironically, was the condition that she would no longer appear five days a week on her namesake show, though she is still expected to appear on special coverage for the network — she typically helms major political event broadcasts, for example.

NBCU has also reportedly agreed to back her exploring other projects, which could include podcasts, content for streaming platforms and specials.

Maddow’s deal is fairly unusual — though there are obviously numerous other weekly shows, the fact NBC is paying Maddow more to appear less on its air is likely indicative that it preferred to keep her in the fold to at least some degree rather than risk her jumping to a rival network. In many ways, it’s likely worth it to a multibillion dollar company like NBCU to shell out more money to keep her on board.

What remains to be seen, however, is if MSNBC can maintain the ratings momentum at 9 p.m. with her only appearing weekly.

9 p.m. is one of the most competitive and lucrative hours in cable news and Maddow typically is able to deliver strong numbers for the network.

That said, the hour is also in a bit of limbo right now. Fox’s “Hannity” is typically the leader in the timeslot and doesn’t show any signs that it’s going anywhere. However, over on CNN, which typically finishes last among major cable news networks, Chris Cuomo’s firing meant the end of “Cuomo Prime Time” and the network has yet to figure out who will take that slot permanently.

It’s been airing a mix of specials and a generic “CNN Tonight” block in the interim.

One possibility is for the network to turn the hour over to Chris Wallace, a former Fox host who was lured away to host a show on the CNN+ streamer, likely with a big price tag. However, it’s been speculated that he could end up taking over the 9 p.m. hour as well.