Melissa Harris-Perry (TV series)

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Melissa Harris-Perry
Melissa Harris-Perry Show logo 2012.png
Genre Current affairs
Political commentary
Presented by Melissa Harris-Perry
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Location(s) New York City
Running time 120 minutes
Original network MSNBC
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original release February 18, 2012 (2012-02-18) – present
External links

Melissa Harris-Perry (also abbreviated MHP) is a current affairs and political commentary television program on MSNBC hosted by American author and academic Melissa Harris-Perry. A college professor, Perry uses the show as a public platform for progressivism. The program airs in the morning on weekends. Harris-Perry had been a frequent contributor and guest host for the network until it was announced that she would host a program of her own, which debuted on February 18, 2012.

She remains a professor at Wake Forest University and commutes to New York City on the weekends to host the show.


According to MSNBC, the program features panel discussions focusing on national politics while exploring the "intersections of culture, art and community".[1][2] The show's two-hour running time allows for a more diverse pool of guests compared to typical cable news programs.[3] In addition, since the show airs on weekends, Harris-Perry says it has "a little bit more breathing room" to respond to the weekly news cycle.[4]

Harris-Perry encourages viewers to interact with the show via Twitter using the #nerdland hashtag,[5] which she uses to describe an occasional destination for its topic field and intensity of discourse.[4]

The shows places a strong emphasis on pop culture in an effort to expand the idea of what is considered "political".[6] Instead of political pundits, Harris-Perry often invites academics, activist Hollywood stars, struggling actresses, makeup ladies, and underrepresented voices as guests.[6] In addition, she often discusses politics outside the beltway, including politics of the South.[6]


Prior to the show's announcement, Melissa Harris-Perry had been appearing frequently as a political analyst on MSNBC. She had also guest-hosted primetime programs The Rachel Maddow Show and The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell for the network.[7] In January 2012, MSNBC announced that she would be hosting her own program as part of the network's weekend lineup.[7] Harris-Perry credited Rachel Maddow for raising her profile on the network by making her a regular guest on The Rachel Maddow Show and then a guest host for the program.[8] MSNBC president Phil Griffin described an episode of Maddow which she hosted in the summer of 2011 as "[p]henomenal honestly. Just jaw-dropping."[4] Harris-Perry added: "more importantly, is the fact that Rachel exists that makes this possible. That she demonstrated so clearly that there is a ratings bonanza to be had for smart, a young woman who is not primarily there because she's adorable but is rather there because she is brilliant and has something to say about the news."[8]

Harris-Perry remains a professor of political science at Tulane University and commutes from New Orleans to New York City every weekend to host the program.[9] She remarked that professionally, she is a "professor first," and accepted the opportunity to host the program because she didn't have to give up teaching.[10] Nonetheless, she admitted that the switching to the academic-broadcaster schedule "really did blow up [her] entire life."[6]

Originally scheduled to launch on February 4, 2012, the program's debut was pushed back two weeks to February 18.[1]

As of the show's launch, Harris-Perry is one of the few African American women who have regular positions in cable news.[9][11] She says she takes this "very seriously," and hopes to emulate other national figures such as Gwen Ifill and Soledad O'Brien.[12]


Frances Martel of Mediaite noted Melissa Harris-Perry's discussion of cultural issues, and said the show's first episode "brought to the table conversations that are as important as they are interesting and achieved the most difficult thing in cable news today: it is unique."[13] Ron Simon, a curator of TV and radio at the Paley Center for Media, said the show is a "nice counterpoint to the older, male-dominated shows you see on the weekends" and that Harris-Perry's influence may help open up the cable news landscape to a "multiplicity of voices".[14]

According to ratings released in May 2012, the program showed "more growth in the time period than all other cable news programs combined," and was #1 in its time slot with ages 18-34.[15]


Mitt Romney's adopted black grandson[edit]

In a look back on 2013 segment on her show, a picture was shown of former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his extended family. Romney was holding on his knee his adopted grandchild, Kieran Romney, an African-American. Harris-Perry and her guests, including actress Pia Glenn and comedian Dean Obeidallah, joked about coming up with captions for the photo. Glenn sang out, “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same.” Obeidallah said, “It sums up the diversity of the Republican Party and the [Republican National Committee], where they have the whole convention and they find the one black person.” Afterwards, Harris-Perry issued an apology in a series of Tweets.[16][17]

George Zimmerman comment[edit]

On February 23, 2015, Melissa Harris-Perry was recorded on video giving a speech at Cornell University. When talking about the Trayvon Martin shooting Harris-Perry said: "I hope (Trayvon Martin) whooped the shit out of George Zimmerman. And it’s not disreputable because he (Martin) encountered a stranger who was prepared to kill him, and you know how I know? Because he killed him." [18]


  1. ^ a b Shapiro, Rebecca (2012-02-01). "Melissa Harris-Perry's New MSNBC Show Gets Title, Release Date Gets Pushed Back". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  2. ^ Vieira, Weesie (2012-02-01). ""Melissa Harris-Perry" to debut on MSNBC Saturday, February 18, 10-noon ET" (Press release). MSNBC. Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  3. ^ Stelter, Brian (2012-02-12). "At MSNBC, a Professor as TV Host". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-18. 
  4. ^ a b c Walker, Dave (2012-02-18). "'Melissa Harris-Perry' launches on MSNBC". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved 2012-02-18. 
  5. ^ Vanden Heuvel, Katrina (2012-02-18). "This Week: Fighting Back in GOP's War on Women. PLUS: 'Melissa Harris-Perry' Debuts". The Nation. Retrieved 2012-02-18. 
  6. ^ a b c d Blake, Meredith (2012-04-20). "MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry brings her analytical POV to cable news". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  7. ^ a b Shaw, Lucas (2012-01-05). "MSNBC Contributor Melissa Harris-Perry Gets Her Own Weekend Show". Reuters. Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  8. ^ a b Geidner, Chris (2012-02-15). "Melissa Harris-Perry takes her political insights from campus to cable". Metro Weekly. Retrieved 2012-02-18. 
  9. ^ a b Stelter, Brian (2012-01-05). "MSNBC Adding Another Political Talk Show on Weekends". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  10. ^ Karlin, Mark (2012-01-12). "Interview With MSNBC Host and Professor Melissa V. Harris-Perry". Truthout. Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  11. ^ Shapiro, Rebecca (2012-01-05). "Melissa Harris-Perry: MSNBC's Newest Host". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  12. ^ Paye, Amity (2012-02-16). "Q&A with Mellissa Harris-Perry, the new face on MSNBC". New York Amsterdam News. Retrieved 2012-02-18. 
  13. ^ Martel, Frances (2012-02-18). "Melissa Harris-Perry Debuts With Solutions For The GOP And A Take-Down Of Chris Brown". Mediaite. Retrieved 2012-02-18. 
  14. ^ Holmes, Anna (2012-02-23). "Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC gives new face to cable news". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  15. ^ Merrill Knox, "May 2012 Ratings: MSNBC Down Double Digits", TV Newser, May. 30, 2012.
  16. ^ Grier, Peter (December 31, 2013). "Melissa Harris-Perry apologizes for Romney grandchild jokes: Sincere?". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  17. ^ Day, Patrick (December 31, 2013). "Melissa Harris-Perry apologizes for Mitt Romney grandchild comments". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 4, 2014. 
  18. ^ T. Becket Adams, "MSNBC host hopes Trayvon Martin 'whooped the s--t out of George Zimmerman'", Washington Examiner, February 25, 2015.

External links[edit]