Morning Joe

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Morning Joe
Logo morningjoe.png
Genre Talk show
Presented by
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Running time 180 minutes
Original network MSNBC
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Original release April 9, 2007 – present
Preceded by Imus in the Morning
Related shows Scarborough Country
Way Too Early
External links

Morning Joe is a weekday morning talk show which premiered on April 9, 2007, on MSNBC. The show features Joe Scarborough discussing the news of the day in a panel format with co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist. It was created as the replacement for Imus in the Morning, which was cancelled in April 2007 after simulcasting on MSNBC since 1996.

The talk show airs from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time.


Morning Joe began as a fill-in program after Don Imus' Imus in the Morning was canceled. Former Florida Congressman Joe Scarborough, then host of the primetime MSNBC program Scarborough Country, suggested the idea of doing a morning show instead.[1] He put together what would become Morning Joe with Scarborough Country executive producer Chris Licht and screenwriter John Ridley. On April 9, 2007, the show debuted as one of a series of rotating programs auditioning for Imus's former slot, with Scarborough joined by co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Ridley.[2][3] Scarborough had personally asked Brzezinski to co-host with him the night before the first audition, while she was a "cut-in" presenter during MSNBC's primetime schedule on a freelance basis.[3]

Ridley quickly dropped out as main co-host but continued as a regular guest, while Willie Geist was tapped as co-host. The program permanently took over the slot in July 2007, though the decision was not officially announced until that October.[4]

During the first quarter of 2009, Morning Joe earned higher ratings in the age 25-54 demo category than CNN's competing program, American Morning. It still had fewer viewers overall.[5] Both programs finished behind Fox News's Fox & Friends during the same time period.

By March 2010, the show's ratings remained behind those of Fox & Friends, but surpassed its other cable competitors American Morning, Morning Express with Robin Meade, and Squawk Box.[6][7]

On June 29, 2009, along with the rest of the network, the show launched in 1080i high definition.

On April 29, 2013, the show began using new 16:9 aspect ratio friendly graphics. This comes as MSNBC made the transition to broadcasting in 16:9 letterbox on its standard definition channel. While presented in 16:9, though, most graphical elements remain inside the 4:3 safe area.

Morning Joe continues to regularly place second in total viewers and younger demographic to Fox & Friends, ahead of other cable news competitors including CNN's New Day.[8] However, Morning Joe, like MSNBC overall, ranked behind CNN's counterpart programming during short stints in 2013.[9][9]

Coverage of the 2008 presidential race[edit]

The show was broadcast live from Des Moines, Iowa, Manchester, New Hampshire, and Columbia, South Carolina during the 2008 Republican and Democratic primaries and caucuses. Presidential candidates such as Joe Lieberman, John Kerry, John Edwards, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Barack Obama, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney participated as guests.


Beginning on June 1, 2009, Morning Joe was presented as "Brewed by Starbucks," with the sponsor's logo incorporated into the show's logo. Although the hosts previously consumed Starbucks coffee on air "for free," in the words of MSNBC president Phil Griffin, it was not paid placement at that time.[10] The move was met with mixed reactions from rival news organizations, viewed as both a clever partnership in an economic downturn and a compromise of journalistic standards.[11] Target Corporation now also offers a "Morning Joe" brand of coffee exclusively in its stores, many of which also incorporate Starbucks shops. The Starbucks sponsorship of Morning Joe ended in 2013.


WABC radio edition[edit]

A radio version debuted in December 2008, carried on WABC in New York City and other Citadel Media owned and operated stations. Scarborough and Brzezinski host this version, which also replays highlights from the day's television show. For legal reasons, this version is called The Joe Scarborough Show.[12] Scarborough claims that, at least on WABC, the show beat the Glenn Beck Program in the New York City radio market's Arbitron ratings.[13][14] However, despite acceptable ratings, the radio version was put on hiatus in April 2010. Scarborough intends to bring back the show in a revised three-hour version at an undisclosed time in the future.[15]

Way Too Early[edit]

On July 27, 2009, Willie Geist began hosting a new 30-minute show, Way Too Early with Willie Geist. It airs on MSNBC at 5:30 a.m. Eastern Time as a lead-in to Morning Joe.[16] Geist left the program in October 2012 to co-host the third hour of NBC's Today, though he normally still appears during the 6:00 a.m. hour of Morning Joe. On May 13, 2013, Brian Shactman took over as anchor of Way Too Early. He was in turn succeeded by Thomas Roberts on January 13, 2014.[17] Roberts was reassigned to host MSNBC Live on March 2, 2015. "Way Too Early" is currently hosted by former Fox News and TheBlaze anchor Amy Holmes.Ended its run in August 2016.

Morning Joe First Look[edit]

On August 8, 2016, the existing early morning program First Look airing at 5:00 a.m. was expanded into the former timeslot of Way Too Early and retitled Morning Joe First Look, retaining segments from the latter program and presumably to feature some continuity with Morning Joe itself.

Daily segments and regular anchors[edit]

Morning Joe broadcasts from 30 Rockefeller Center in New York City.
  • Morning Papers - daily headlines from newspapers nationwide at the 6:20 mark and replayed during the 8:00 hour.
  • Morning Grind - daily news roundup, read by Mika Brzezinski at the beginning and thirty-minute mark of each hour.
  • News You Can't Use - Willie Geist's daily roundup of offbeat news stories.
  • Politico Playbook - at the 6:20 mark and replayed during the 8:00 hour, a Politico staff member (most frequently Mike Allen) provides the day's political news from the website's editorial offices in Arlington, Virginia.
  • The Sideline - in a segment during the second half of the 6:00 hour, Willie Geist presents the previous day's sports news. The segment was previously called the Morning Sports Shot.
  • Business Before the Bell - at the 8:30 mark, a CNBC correspondent reports on the morning's business news from CNBC's NYSE booth.
  • Political Roundtable - this segment is featured during the show's last half-hour. It is devoted to discussion between the hosts and guests of a political issue of the day.
  • What Have We Learned Today? - the show's closing segment, in which the hosts and on-set guests joke about what they learned on that day's broadcast.
  • Morning Mika - starting in January 2015, at the 8:30 mark the remainder of the show, excluding the closing statements, is solo anchored by Mika who interviews various guests while Joe is in the control room.

Regular guests and contributors[edit]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks with Nicolle Wallace, Mike Barnicle, Mark Halperin, Richard Haass, and Katty Kay during an appearance on September 29, 2015.

Regular guests and contributors include:

Past contributors and segments[edit]

  • Pat Buchanan, past co-host of CNN's Crossfire and MSNBC's Buchanan and Press. A former presidential candidate and an MSNBC on-air personality since 2002, Buchanan was suspended by the network in October 2011, following the publication of his book "Suicide of a Superpower". Four months later, MSNBC severed its relationship with Buchanan.[18]
  • Erin Burnett, CNN and past CNBC anchor. In her role as anchor on CNBC's Squawk on the Street, Burnett regularly contributed as the correspondent during the daily 8:30 "Business Before the Bell" segment. She left CNBC for an anchor position at CNN in May 2011. Scarborough habitually introduced Burnett with the nickname "International Superstar."
  • Tucker Carlson, political commentator. Carlson left MSNBC to work as a commentator for the Fox News Channel in May 2009.[19]
  • Mark Haines, the late co-anchor of CNBC's Squawk on the Street. Haines filled in for his co-anchor Erin Burnett on several occasions for the "Business Before the Bell" segment. He briefly took it over after her departure from CNBC until his death on May 24, 2011.
  • Courtney Hazlett, MSNBC entertainment correspondent and author of "The Scoop" column and blog featured on From October 2007 through to July 2009, the show's next-to-last segment regularly featured Hazlett and co-host Willie Geist discussing her latest column. The segment, titled Morning Scoop, was sponsored by L'Oréal, whose ad spots continued for several weeks after it had been effectively discontinued. No official announcement or explanation was given regarding the decision to drop Hazlett from the show. She remains a contributor to the website and other MSNBC programs.
  • Nicole Lapin, CNN & past her guest anchor on CNBC's Worldwide Exchange.
  • Jackie Meretsky, NBC Weather Plus meteorologist. NBC shut down NBC Weather Plus in December 2008, thus eliminating her position. She was on maternity leave at the time.[20] Meretsky joined Good Morning America as a meteorologist in 2011.
  • Norah O'Donnell, past MSNBC Chief Washington Correspondent. O'Donnell frequently appeared as a commentator and often guest-hosted the program with Willie Geist in Scarborough and Brzezinski's absence. She left MSNBC and NBC News to become Chief White House Correspondent for CBS News in June 2011.[21]
  • Fred Roggin, KNBC-TV sports anchor. Between 2007 and 2010, Roggin contributed a taped sports scores and highlight recap for "The Sideline" and "Morning Sports Shot" segments during the 6:00 hour. Co-host Willie Geist gradually took over the segment in 2010.
  • Tim Russert, the late host of NBC's Meet the Press.
  • Sam Tanenhaus, senior editor of the New York Times Book Review. Between April 2009 and March 2010, Tanenhaus would appear on either the Thursday or Friday show to preview the New York Times Book Review's forthcoming issue.
  • Morning Joe Moment - during August 2009, this was briefly the replacement for Courtney Hazlett and the Morning Scoop. It featured a host replaying his or her favorite moment from the day's show.
  • David Gregory - Former Moderator of NBC's "Meet the Press and NBC News Chief White House Correspondent

Controversial incidents[edit]

Chris Matthews "messed around" comments[edit]

On January 9, 2008, the morning after Hillary Clinton's surprise victory in the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, Matthews appeared on the show and said of Clinton,

"I'll be brutal, the reason she's a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around. That's how she got to be senator from New York. We keep forgetting it. She didn't win there on her merit."[22][23]

The comments, widely reacted to as sexist and unfair, were criticized by such diverse media figures as Bill O'Reilly,[22] Joy Behar,[24] and Gloria Steinem.[25] They also led to protests outside NBC's Washington, D.C. studios, as well as a joint letter of complaint to NBC from the National Organization for Women, Feminist Majority, and the National Women's Political Caucus. Matthews apologized for the comments on the January 17, 2008, edition of his own MSNBC program, Hardball.[25]

Institution of a seven-second delay[edit]

On November 10, 2008, Scarborough read the word "fuck" on air while reading from a story about then-President-elect Obama's incoming Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. Once he realized his mistake, Scarborough repeatedly apologized for his slip of the tongue, and explained that he had meant to say "the F word" instead. The next day, MSNBC instituted a seven-second delay for Morning Joe.[26]

In another incident on June 29, 2011, then Time editor-at-large Mark Halperin commented that the president came off as "kind of a dick" during the previous day's press conference. The word aired uncensored, despite the seven-second delay, when a producer failed to press the button that would have "bleeped" it. Halperin issued an on-air apology immediately following a commercial break.[27] The White House subsequently complained to MSNBC about Halperin's remarks, and on June 30, 2011, Halperin was temporarily suspended from appearing on MSNBC for "slurring" the President. He returned as a guest a couple of weeks later.[28]

"Stunningly superficial"[edit]

On December 30, 2008, Zbigniew Brzezinski (Mika's father and former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter) came as a guest to discuss the unfolding Israel-Palestine crisis. Scarborough claimed that Yasser Arafat was offered everything he wanted at the 2000 Camp David Summit. This statement provoked Zbigniew to reply, "You know, you have such a stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on that it's almost embarrassing to listen to you". Subsequently, the phrase "stunningly superficial" has become somewhat of a running gag on the show.[29]

Feud with Jon Stewart[edit]

On June 3, 2009, The Daily Show host Jon Stewart mocked the Starbucks sponsorship of the program, showing several clips of the Morning Joe cast prominently displaying and complimenting Starbucks products as well as an interview with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.[30] Scarborough responded that his intent in discussing the sponsorship was sarcastic, and he suggested that Stewart and his "90 writers" did not understand the joke.[31] On June 8, Stewart feigned embarrassment over missing their alleged sarcasm, claiming, "At the time, I thought your jokey manner was just a way of sublimating your shame over the discomfort you feel deep in your soul after extinguishing the last smoldering embers of any of your program’s journalistic bona fides. But now, I realize that that wasn't the case!"[31] On June 9, Scarborough fired back, referring to Stewart as "a very, very angry guy with a Napoleonic complex."[32] The next day, Stewart and correspondent John Oliver again responded with a skit, involving Stewart impersonating Napoleon and Oliver impersonating an even shorter Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington. After the routine, Jon Stewart joked that he hoped that this would be the end of the feud, since continuing it was becoming expensive for the show.[33]

Clash with Rush Limbaugh[edit]

During the Obama administration, Joe Scarborough has sought to distance himself from certain elements in the Republican Party. He has criticized Republicans such as Rush Limbaugh who have celebrated President Obama's failed bid to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago saying that "Republicans have gone off the deep end." On the October 8, 2009 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh fired back by saying that Scarborough was "doing his best impression of [...] a neutered chickified moderate." Scarborough responded the next day on Morning Joe, faulting Limbaugh for uncritical loyalty to George W. Bush during the president's tenure in office. Scarborough specifically said that Limbaugh had put his "testicles in a blind trust for George W. Bush for eight years."[34]

Campaign-donation suspension[edit]

MSNBC suspended show host Joe Scarborough without pay from the November 22 and November 23, 2010 broadcasts. It had been discovered that Scarborough had made eight campaign donations to political candidates without management approval during his employment at the channel. This is in violation of NBC News policy, which stipulates that employees must receive permission from the network's president before making campaign contributions. In a written statement, Scarborough said that he agreed with the suspension, apologizing to MSNBC and "to anyone who has been negatively affected by my actions." The suspension followed a similar disciplinary action taken against Keith Olbermann, host of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, who had also made unauthorized political contributions.[35]

Russell Brand Interview[edit]

The Morning Joe interview with actor and comedian Russell Brand, a segment in the episode that aired on June 17, 2013, went viral on the internet.[36] He was there to promote his forthcoming stand-up comedy tour "The Messiah Complex". After the three interviewers (host Mika Brzezinski and contributors Katty Kay and Brian Shactman) repeatedly intercut the interview with personal observations of their guest — bantering among themselves whether they're able to understand his accent, referring to him in the third person, and calling him "Willy" — Brand protested at being talked about "as if he wasn't present and (as if he was) an extraterrestrial" before taking the interview over with a scathing commentary on what he perceived as a lack of professionalism and manners demonstrated by the interviewers. He appeared to confuse them with his direct, plain speaking rebuke. In a final apparent attempt to offer an olive branch of humor to the show's host Mika Brzezinski, Brand quipped "this woman is a shaft grasper" after she appeared to nervously, and suggestively, stroke her water bottle.[37]


  1. ^ Jacques Steinberg, "TV Host Is in His Prime With a Morning Audience", New York Times, June 5, 2006.
  2. ^ "Hello, Morning Joe? - 2006-05-26 00:01:00 | Multichannel News". Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  3. ^ a b All Things at Once by Mika Brzezinski - 978-1-60286-111-4
  4. ^ Kung, Michelle (2007-09-25). "MSNBC Names Abrams Permanent 9 P.M. News Host, Scarborough Morning Host". Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  5. ^ Ariens, Chris (2009-03-31). "Q1 2009 Ratings: MSNBC Tops CNN in Prime Time - TVNewser". Archived from the original on 2009-08-01. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  6. ^ Gorman, Bill. "Cable News Ratings for Wednesday, March 3, 2010". Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  7. ^ Gorman, Bill. "Cable News Ratings for Friday, March 5, 2010". Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  8. ^ Chris Ariens, "January 2014 Ratings: MSNBC Back to #2", TVNewser, January 28, 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Apr'13 P2+ Cable News Program Ranker". Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  10. ^ Stelter, Brian (2009-05-31). "Starbucks Is Now the Official Joe on 'Morning Joe'". Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  11. ^ "'Morning Joe' Starbucks Sponsorship Gets Mixed Reactions - 2009-06-02 19:56:09 | Broadcasting & Cable". Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  12. ^ ABC Radio Networks Launches The Joe Scarborough Show. ABC Radio Networks press release. 8 December 2008.
  13. ^ "Am I Not Conservative Enough? - Page 1 - Joe Scarborough - Townhall Conservative". Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  14. ^ Hinckley, David (2010-03-26). "MSNBC's Morning Joe with Joe Scarborough a hit, even with opponents". New York: Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  15. ^ Stelter, Brian (2010-04-26). "Scarborough and Brzezinski to Revamp, Expand Their Radio Show". Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  16. ^ Shea, Danny (2009-07-15). "Willie Geist's "Way Too Early" To Launch On MSNBC". Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  17. ^ "Thomas Roberts named host of "Way Too Early"". MSNBC. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  18. ^ "Pat Buchanan out at MSNBC". Chicago Sun-Times. 2012-02-16. Retrieved 2012-05-20. 
  19. ^ Ariens, Chris (2009-05-16). "Tucker Carlson on Joining Fox: "I've Waited a Long Time to Get Here." - TVNewser". Archived from the original on 2010-01-06. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  20. ^ SteveK on December 31, 2008 7:00 AM (2008-12-31). "Weather Plus, Minus Four More - TVNewser". Retrieved 2011-04-05. [permanent dead link]
  21. ^ Norah O'Donnell joins CBS News.
  22. ^ a b SteveK on January 10, 2008 12:30 PM (2008-01-10). "Matthews Credits Hillary's Success to Fact That Bill "Messed Around" - TVNewser". Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  23. ^ MICHAEL CALDERONE. "Chris Matthews sorry for 'sexist' comments - Michael Calderone". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  24. ^ ABC: The View, January 10, 2008.
  25. ^ a b Kurtz, Howard (2008-01-18). "Chris Matthews Backs Off 'Nasty' Remark on Clinton". Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  26. ^ [1][dead link]
  27. ^ Mak, Tim. "Mark Halperin suspended over Obama remark on Morning Joe (video)". Politico. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  28. ^ Mcglynn, Katla (2011-06-30). "Mark Halperin SUSPENDED For Obama 'D*ck' Comment (VIDEO)". Huffpost Media. The Huffington Postt. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  29. ^ Linkins, Jason (2008-12-30). "Zbigniew Brzezinski Calls Joe Scarborough 'Stunningly Superficial'". Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  30. ^ "Corporate SynerJoe - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - 06/03/09 - Video Clip | Comedy Central". 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  31. ^ a b "Morning Joe's Sarcastic Starbucks Sponsorship - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - 06/08/09 - Video Clip | Comedy Central". 2009-06-08. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  32. ^ Linkins, Jason (2009-06-10). "Joe Scarborough: Jon Stewart A "Very, Very Angry Guy," May Have "Napoleonic Complex"". Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  33. ^ "Jon's Napoleonic Complex - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - 06/10/09 - Video Clip | Comedy Central". 2009-06-10. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  34. ^ Shea, Danny (2009-10-08). "Rush Limbaugh: Joe Scarborough Acting Like "Neutered, Chickified Moderate"". Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  35. ^ Kenneth Vogel. "Joe Scarborough suspended from MSNBC for campaign donations". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  36. ^ Joynt, Carol Ross (2013-06-20). "Russell Brand on "Morning Joe" Still Hot on Twitter". The Washingtonian. Retrieved 2013-06-21. 
  37. ^ Alexandra Petri (2013-06-19). "Russell Brand devastates 'Morning Joe' — does he have a point?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-06-21. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Morning Joe First Look
MSNBC Weekday Lineup
6:00AM – 9:00AM
Succeeded by
The Rundown with José Diaz-Balart