|Genre Talk show|
Original language(s) English
|Country of origin United States|
Running time 180 minutes
|Presented by Joe Scarborough
Location(s) Secaucus, New Jersey (April 9—October 19, 2007) New York City (October 22, 2007—present)
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.
- Coverage of the 2008 presidential race
- WABC radio edition
- Way Too Early
- Morning Joe First Look
- Daily segments and regular anchors
- Regular guests and contributors
- Past contributors and segments
- Chris Matthews
- Institution of a seven second delay
- Feud with Jon Stewart
- Clash with Rush Limbaugh
- Campaign donation suspension
- Russell Brand Interview
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. 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. 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.
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.
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. 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.
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. However, Morning Joe, like MSNBC overall, ranked behind CNN's counterpart programming during short stints in 2013.
Coverage of the 2008 presidential race
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. 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. 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
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. Scarborough claims that, at least on WABC, the show beat the Glenn Beck Program in the New York City radio market's Arbitron ratings. 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.
Way Too Early
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. 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. 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
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
Regular guests and contributors
Regular guests and contributors include:
Past contributors and segments
Chris Matthews "messed around" comments
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."
The comments, widely reacted to as sexist and unfair, were criticized by such diverse media figures as Bill O'Reilly, Joy Behar, and Gloria Steinem. 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.
Institution of a seven-second delay
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.
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. 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.
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.
Feud with Jon Stewart
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. 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. 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!" On June 9, Scarborough fired back, referring to Stewart as "a very, very angry guy with a Napoleonic complex." 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.
Clash with Rush Limbaugh
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."
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.
Russell Brand Interview
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. 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.