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Rachel Maddow taking hiatus from MSNBC show until April

FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2017 file photo, MSNBC television anchor Rachel Maddow, host of the Rachel Maddow Show, moderates a panel at a forum called "Perspectives on National Security," at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass. Time's Up has called on NBC Universal to release all former employees from non-disclosure agreements that might be impinging on their ability to speak out about sexual harassment, and also to hold an independent investigation into workplace culture at NBC. The organization said NBC didn't go far enough with its statement, first reported Friday, Oct. 25, 2019, by Maddow, that employees should contact the company in order to be released from any "perceived obligation" to remain quiet. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Rachel Maddow, MSNBC’s most popular personality, said Monday she will be taking a hiatus from her prime time show until April to work on a new podcast and that a movie is being made of her first book and podcast about former Vice President Spiro Agnew.

“Change is good,” she said on her show. “Change is absolutely terrifying, but in this case it’s good.”

She said she’s going to help out with the movie of “Bag Man” on former President Richard Nixon’s disgraced vice president, to be directed by Ben Stiller and produced by “Saturday Night Live” executive producer Lorne Michaels.

Maddow gave no details on her second podcast, being made for NBC Universal.

“I am super-excited to tell you about it when I have more to tell,” said Maddow, who hosted her show from her home on Monday because she had been exposed to someone who had tested positive and shown symptoms of COVID-19.

Although she’ll be off from her regular show starting on Friday, she’s expected to appear during MSNBC’s coverage of some major events, like President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. Ali Velshi, her most frequent substitute host, and other MSNBC personalities are expected to fill in on the regular evening telecast.

Maddow’s absence could be a glimpse into MSNBC’s future. It has been widely reported that Maddow will step back from hosting her program every night as part of a new contract with the network, although MSNBC has never commented on that. Maddow hinted at it Monday by saying there will be “more hiatuses in the future.”

Losing her on a regular basis could be a challenge for the network, which has seen its viewership slip from the highs of the 2020 presidential election campaign and its aftermath.