Rachel Maddow stopped fishing in Tennessee to host show on Mueller report from Knoxville

Ryan Wilusz

If you tuned into "The Rachel Maddow Show" on Friday night, your eyes did not deceive you. The Knoxville skyline was, in fact, on display behind Maddow, who was reporting on the Mueller report during what fellow MSNBC host Chris Hayes called an "eventful" day for her.

"I will tell you what Chris is referring to is that a couple of hours ago —  maybe even less than that — I was standing knee-deep in a trout stream in Tennessee," Maddow said. "But now it's Mueller time, and so I’m in a studio in the great state of Tennessee."

Maddow hosted the show from a studio on the University of Tennessee's campus in Knoxville after abandoning her fishing excursion once news broke that Robert Mueller's report on the Trump-Russia investigation was delivered to Attorney General William P. Barr.

 "The trout are basically just as safe as they were when I was flailing away at them ineffectually this afternoon," she said. "But now it is — listen —  this is history. This is a reason to stop fishing and go to work.”

Social media users were quick to pick up on the Knoxville backdrop, and others reported spotting the host around town. One fan was even able to snap a photo with Maddow, who she described as "down to earth." 

How and why UT was selected

Karen Dunlap, a public relations specialist for UT's Office of Communications and Marketing, said in an email that NBC contacted the school's director of video production to rent the studio. 

"Maddow was in the area on vacation, and our studio is conveniently located and has uplink capabilities," Dunlap said. "The production studio is used by our video production team as well as journalism students in the College of Communication and Information."

The First Tennessee building, BB&T building and Bank of America building were all pictured in the background during Maddow's show. 

The studio also has hosted guests for Fox News, Fox Business News, CNN, ESPN, CBS Sports Network, NBC News and the Today Show, Dunlap said. 

'I would still be fishing, otherwise'

It's unclear where exactly Maddow's excursion took place and if fishing was the main focus of her trip. Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, said on Twitter that Maddow was in town for Big Ears. 

Pi Recordings, a jazz record label representing multiple Big Ears artists, entertained the idea on Twitter. According to the tweet, Maddow was on their flight. 

"This festival is bigger news than we thought," the tweet read. "Or... she’s just flying to Knoxville. I prefer to think she’s going to the shows." 

Regardless of her reason for the visit, Maddow said, the fun had to stop for such monumental news. 

"Tonight is a landmark moment," she said. "I would still be fishing, otherwise. But we still have no idea as to what Robert Mueller has found."

Keep up with downtown and all things Scruffy City by following me on Instagram @knoxscruff. I can also be reached at 865-317-5138 or by email at ryan.wilusz@knoxnews.com. 

Mueller report: Special counsel Robert Mueller delivers report marking end of investigation into Trump's campaign, Russia

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Rachel Maddow stopped fishing in Tennessee to host show on Mueller report from Knoxville