Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment developing feature based on the ‘Rachel Maddow Presents: Ultra’ podcast; Tony Kushner and Danny Strong are in talks to adapt
Exclusive: After garnering the interest of several high-profile buyers, Rachel Maddow has partnered with one of the biggest guys in town to edit a feature from her podcast. Rachel Maddow presents: Ultra. Sources tell Deadline that Amblin Entertainment has movie rights to the podcast From MSNBC and Maddow’s Surprise Inside production company. Steven Spielberg and Kristi Macosko-Krieger will produce the film for Amblin, along with Maddow and Mike Yarvitz on behalf of Surprise Inside.
As of now, Spielberg will produce the film, with the director job open, but insiders add that his longtime collaborator Tony Kushner, (who will also executive produce) and Danny Strong are in talks to co-write.
superProduced by MSNBC and NBC News, it is an eight-episode podcast series that examines the history of an incendiary plot to undermine American democracy 80 years ago, and the unbridled fight in and out of the courtroom to try to stop it. The series was produced by Maddow and the former The Rachel Maddow Show Producer Mike Jarvitz, and Producer Madhu Producer Kelsey Desiderio. This is the second original podcast from Maddow and Yarvit, following their successful series man bagwhich received a DuPont Columbia Award. It debuted at #1 on Apple Podcasts in October and has stayed there for four straight weeks — and has been in the top 10 ever since.
Rachel Maddow presents: Ultra is one of many projects in Maddow’s expanded portfolio across NBCUniversal platforms. Since signing her new overall deal at MSNBC, she has moved on from hosting The Rachel Maddow Show Five days a week to just once a week on Mondays, Maddow has begun to focus on the different areas she can focus on in this new phase of her career. Along with her agency WME, which signed her in August 2021, Maddow has begun searching for cross-platform items that can be used as a source for future projects including books, podcasts, articles, and scripts. Sources close to Maddow say that while she’s been busy on this front, it has never been about volume to add to her development slate but rather finding quality material to produce.
You will eventually land superthat you write and host. In recent months, I began meeting with several high-profile producers interested in adapting the show, but in the end the featured presentation by Amblin, Spielberg, and company was hard to miss. The pitch just got sweeter with Kushner and Strong’s interest.
While her focus will be on adapting the feature, Maddow continues to look for more projects especially on the limited series and docs front that fit her brand.
Maddow hosted and won an Emmy Award The Rachel Maddow Show It was the most successful program launch in MSNBC history when it debuted in September 2008. She currently leads breaking news and special coverage for MSNBC.
Besides WME, Maddow is also represented by Gibson Dunn.
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