MSNBC plans to air the program from its usual starting point at 6 a.m. until 10 a.m. now, pre-empting a 9 o’clock hour that had previously been earmarked for more traditional news coverage. The hour’s anchor, Stephanie Ruhle, is moving to lead “The 11th Hour” at 11 p.m. on the NBCUniversal network.
The network sees an opportunity to put “Morning Joe” in front of West Coast audiences, but by expanding the program, MSNBC is also relying more heavily on some of its most popular programming at a time when some of its most popular hours are in flux. Executives see “Morning Joe” and Nicolle Wallace’s two afternoon hours as two pillars of the schedule. Rachel Maddow, who has already taken a hiatus to tend to other content productions she is handling for NBCU under a new contract, is expected to pull back again from primetime duties in weeks to come. Brian Williams, a regular presence on MSNBC since leaving “NBC Nightly News” in 2015, left NBC at the end of 2021.
Executives also believe that “Morning Joe” has a proven track record of generating bigger audiences than CNN’s morning programs, and will continue to do so in mid-morning as well. If the 5 a.m. program, “Way Too Early,” which is considered a part of overall “Morning Joe” production, is included, viewers will get five hours of politics, news analysis and discussion each weekday.
The three co-anchors have been together since “Morning Joe” launched in 2007. “The format is like a radio show,” Geist told Variety in 2020. “We are just sitting around with friends talking and ad libbing, reacting to each other. It’s in the people. It’s in the chemistry.”