MSNBC’s top-rated host Rachel Maddow is releasing a podcast as her first project since stepping away from hosting her television show five nights a week. Under the “Rachel Maddow Presents” banner, MSNBC will begin releasing episodes of the podcast Ultra on October 10 with subsequent episodes coming on Mondays when Maddow is on the air and able to promote the podcast to TV viewers.
Similar to Maddow’s MSNBC show, Ultra will look at history to offer insight into what is happening in today’s headlines. The podcast will examine a time in 1944 when several sitting members of Congress were criminally charged with plotting to end American democracy during World War II.
“I knew there would be resonance for what we are going through now. That’s why I wanted to do it in the first place,” Maddow said during her program Monday night. “I did not know, at the time that I picked this topic and this launch date for the podcast, that the actual sedition trial for Jan. 6 would be starting on the day the podcast was announced.”
The eight-episode Ultra is executive produced by Maddow and Michael Yarvitz, a former producer on her television show. The pair earlier produced the Bag Man podcast about former Vice President Spiro Agnew.
“Ultra spotlights what Rachel does best: masterfully breaking down complex stories and connecting history to our world today,” said MSNBC President Rashida Jones. “This is the first of many projects in the expanding Rachel universe that will allow audiences to see—or hear—Rachel on all of our platforms,” she said in a statement.
The podcast will be the first project to be released by Maddow’s new production company Surprise Inside. The podcast will also be a companion to a forthcoming book to be released by Crown.
Audio is not a new format for Maddow, who hosted a radio talk show for the liberal talk network Air America in 2004 and 2005. Maddow left TV screens other than her Monday night show earlier this year, giving her the remainder of the week to work on other projects means that in addition to her podcasts she is also working on a pair of television pilots and two potential movies. NBCUniversal executives told Vanity Fair they believed the first TV project could turn up in 2023.