SiriusXM approached Rachel Maddow with radio show deal

(Image: SiriusXM/Handout, Graphic: The Desk)

Premium audio company SiriusXM Pandora approached MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow with a $40 million deal in exchange for a weekday talk program on the company’s flagship satellite radio service, according to a report.

This week, entertainment publication Vanity Fair reported details of the deal, which included first-look rights at other projects Maddow had in the works or was considering at the time.

It was not clear from Vanity Fair’s report how far discussions between Maddow, her representatives and the company progressed. Earlier this year, the prolific MSNBC commentator who hosts the cable news network’s highest-rated program announced she was taking a hiatus. She returned a few months later to announce that she would appear on the network only once per week, which left MSNBC scrambling to fill her chair (MSNBC ultimately promoted Alex Wagner to her time slot).

Vanity Fair said Maddow has been working on a new non-fiction podcast centered around World War II. The podcast will be the first from her own production company, Surprise Inside.

It was not clear from the report if Maddow has any agreement in place with SiriusXM Pandora to distribute the show. If a deal went through, it would be Maddow’s first full-time return to radio since she hosted a program on Air America, a progressive-leaning radio network that shut down in 2010.

SiriusXM Pandora has been aggressively pushing into the on-demand and streaming audio space through its purchases of Stitcher and other podcast services. Both Pandora and the streaming version of SiriusXM satellite radio offer access to podcasts from within their smartphone and tablet apps.