Looks like we can now put to rest those whispers of Rachel Maddow ditching MSNBC. The cable channel's "most popular primetime anchor" is reportedly sticking around for at least a few more years, per Insider. Sources tell that outlet, as well as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, that the 48-year-old inked a multiyear contract Friday to develop new projects with the network and parent company NBCUniversal, which will include continuing to host The Rachel Maddow Show. Maddow, who started with MSNBC in 2008, and whose current contract was set to expire next year, had been rumored to be considering leaving MSNBC and launching her own media ventures, perhaps including a jump into streaming programs and podcasting.
A source tells Insider that Maddow's newly signed deal gives her leeway to put into motion "a raft of multimedia projects," which may include books, TV series, and films. An insider tells the Journal that Maddow will start her own production company, which in turn will offer NBCUniversal first dibs on any projects. Another source tells the paper that CNN was in the mix trying to woo Maddow, though CNN is so far staying mum.
It's not clear what numbers are attached to the deal. Mark Shapiro, the head of the Endeavor talent agency that's representing Maddow, would say only that Maddow will enjoy more flexibility in her schedule and have the chance to flesh out her ideas. The Times notes Maddow's weeknight show is the network's No. 1 program, and it's also had the honors of being the top program across all cable networks, including earlier this year, per Adweek. "Rachel Maddow is staying home where she belongs with a much broader deal at NBCUniversal and couldn't be happier," Shapiro says, per Insider. (Read more Rachel Maddow stories.)