Morning Joe: Wikis


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Morning Joe
Morning Joe opening title since June 1, 2009.
Presented by Joe Scarborough
Mika Brzezinski
Willie Geist
John Ridley
Country of origin  United States
Language(s) English
Location(s) Secaucus, New Jersey
(May 9—October 19, 2007)
New York City
(October 22, 2007—present)
Running time 180 minutes (3 hours)
Original channel MSNBC
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original run May 9, 2007 – Present
Preceded by Imus in the Morning
Followed by Incumbent
External links
Official website

Morning Joe is a weekday morning talk show on MSNBC, with 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. It airs between 6AM and 9AM U.S. Eastern Time.



Morning Joe began as a fill-in program in Don Imus' old slot. After Imus in the Morning was cancelled, former Florida Congressman Joe Scarborough, then the host of the nighttime MSNBC program Scarborough Country, suggested the idea of him doing a morning show instead.[1] He put together what would become Morning Joe with Willie Geist and screenwriter John Ridley. On May 9, 2007, the show debuted as one of a series of rotating programs auditioning for Imus's former slot.[2] Ridley soon dropped out as co-host, opting instead to be a regular guest. Mika Brzezinski joined the program as co-host and news reader shortly after its debut. The program permanently took over the slot in July 2007, although the decision was not officially announced until that October.[3]

Clips from the past few days are available on the official website.

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

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 less viewers overall.[4] Both programs regularly finish behind Fox News's Fox and Friends during the same time period.

As of March 2010, the show's ratings remain far behind Fox and Friends, yet regularly earned higher ratings overall than its competitors, American Morning, Morning Express with Robin Meade, and Squawk Box. [5] [6]


Coverage of the 2008 presidential race

The show broadcasted live from Des Moines, Iowa; Manchester, New Hampshire; and Columbia, South Carolina for the Republican and Democratic primaries and caucuses in those states. Many of the presidential candidates, such as Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Barack Obama, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney have been guests.


Starting on June 1, 2009, Morning Joe has been presented as "brewed by Starbucks" and the show's logo changed to include the company logo. Although the hosts have previously consumed Starbucks coffee on air "for free" in the words of MSNBC president Phil Griffin, it was not paid placement at that time.[7] 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.[8]


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.[9] Scarborough claims that at least on WABC, the show beat the Glenn Beck Program (which is currently the highest-rated talk show in the time slot nationwide) in Arbitron ratings.[10]

Way Too Early

On July 27, 2009, Willie Geist began hosting a new show, Way Too Early with Willie Geist. It airs at 5:30 AM U.S. Eastern Time, 30 minutes prior to Morning Joe.[11]

Daily segments and regular anchors

  • 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 and 8:20 marks, a Politico staff member (most frequently Mike Allen) provides the day's political news from the website's editorial offices in Arlington, VA.
  • The Sideline - in a segment during the second half of the 6:00 hour, Fred Roggin, KNBC-TV sports anchor, presents the previous day's sports news. The segment was previously called the Morning Sports Shot. Willie Geist occasionally handles the segment instead of Roggin.
  • Business Before the Bell - at the 8:30 mark, either Erin Burnett or Mark Haines (the anchors of CNBC's Squawk on the Street) reports on the morning's business news from CNBC's NYSE booth. Burnett, who Scarborough has nicknamed "International Superstar," is usually the one who does the segment.
  • 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.
  • Bill Karins, New York bureau Weather Channel meteorologist.

Regular guests and contributors

Regular guests and contributors include:

Former contributors and segments

  • Tucker Carlson, political commentator. Carlson left MSNBC to work as a commentator for the Fox News Channel in May 2009.[12]
  • Courtney Hazlett, MSNBC entertainment correspondent and author of's "The Scoop" column. From October 2007 through 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 has been given regarding the decision to drop Hazlett from the show. She continues to write for and contribute to other MSNBC programs.
  • 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.[13]
  • Tim Russert, the late host of NBC's Meet the Press.
  • 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.

Notable incidents

Paris Hilton incident

After about a month of being on the air, Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski became a YouTube sensation[14]. Brzezinski gained notoriety for refusing to read the report of Hilton's release from prison. She felt Hilton's jail sentence was not an appropriate lead story. She protested by taking a lighter from co-host Willie Geist and attempting to burn the script. After Geist prevented her from doing so, she resorted to putting the script in a paper shredder.

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. [15][16]

The comments, widely seen as grossly sexist and unfair, were criticized by such disparate media figures as Bill O'Reilly[15], Joy Behar[17], and Gloria Steinem[18]. They also resulted in 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.[18]

Expletive incident

On November 10, 2008 Scarborough used an expletive on air while quoting 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'd meant to say "the F word" instead. The next day, MSNBC instituted a seven second delay for Morning Joe.[19]

Mika Brzezinski mugged

On December 18, 2008, the show's cohost, Mika Brzezinski, got mugged before coming in to do Morning Joe. Joe Scarborough was visibly and verbally outraged that the hotel they were staying at did not have security outside the door. The show was being taped from Washington D.C. She said on the show, "He wanted $20," and since she only had $6, she was "very scared" since she felt that "I did not have enough." [20]

"Stunningly superficial"

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". Consequently, the phrase "stunningly superficial" has become somewhat of a running gag on the show.[21]

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 a sycophantic interview with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.[22] Scarborough responded that his intent in discussing the sponsorship was sarcastic, and he suggested that Stewart and his "90 writers" didn't understand the joke.[23] 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 supplementing 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!"[23] On June 9, Scarborough fired back, referring to Stewart as "a very, very angry guy with a Napoleonic complex."[24] 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. 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.[25]

Clash with Rush Limbaugh and the far right

During the Obama administration, Joe Scarborough has sought to distance himself from far-right 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." [26] 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." [27] 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." [28]


  1. ^ Jacques Steinberg, "TV Host Is in His Prime With a Morning Audience", New York Times, June 5, 2008.
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  9. ^ ABC Radio Networks Launches The Joe Scarborough Show. ABC Radio Networks press release. 8 December 2008.
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  11. ^ Willie Geist's "Way Too Early" To Launch On MSNBC
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External links

Preceded by
Way Too Early with Willie Geist
MSNBC Weekday Lineup
6:00AM – 9:00AM
Succeeded by
The Daily Rundown


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