I love this show and have been watching this time slot since the Melissa Harris Perry days when I was introduced to the show by then blogger Pam Spaulding. It has been my go-to since then and I can say with absolute confidence that I am a better human being, a better blogger, and better citizen because of the collective work of Harris-Perry and Joy Reid.
Joy was promoted to a weekday evening slot in the later summer months of 2020, the 7 PM “The Reid Out’ that my partner and I now regularly watch. We actually changed our evening routines to watch it, we stopped watching the CBS Evening News at 7 PM and began watching the NBC Evening News at 6:30 so we’d be able to watch Joy’s show. We watch a lot of news around here, including two hours of local CBS/KDKA programming.
So the decision to move Joy to this slot also brought us over to Lester Holt on NBC regularly. win/win. You probably have zero interest in our news viewing schedule choices, but it is good to remind folks that some folks still watch the news.
MSNBC decided to use a rotating array of guest hosts to fill this program under the title of AM Joy. It has been very interesting seeing how the assorted guest hosts have tackled the legacy of this time slot in this most unusual of times. The hosts I’ve personally watch in alphabetical order are Jonathan Capehart, TIffany Cross, Jason Johnson, Maria Theresa Kumar, and Zerlina Maxwell.
It has been a true luxury to watch them each spread their wings and take the esprit de corps of the AM Joy regulars into delightful new directions.
But I have to admit – I’d like MSNBC to make a decision so we can more forward with a more singular hand on the rudder of the show. From my point of view, it is time. And because someone might be interested, here is how I would move forward.
My absolute favorite choice is to go a different direction than previous incarnations and use a co-host scenario with Jonathan Capehart and Tiffany Cross, along the lines of Morning Joe rather than the usual one host duties of shows like Rachel Maddow, All In with Chris Hayes, The Last Word, etc. Mix it up, give us the best of both worlds.
Yes, in part my perspective is because I really like both Jonathan and Tiffany. But I also see they have different strengths so bringing them together as equal co-hosts would shake up the traditional formula a bit, add some opportunity for THEM to talk with each other about critical issues. That would be groundbreaking – two Black hosts, one a woman and one a gay man, with impeccable journalistic credentials hosting wonderful panels but also talking with each other. There are so many dynamics there to explore Both have shown themselves capable.
I have no idea if they are friends, if they like each other, if they want to share the duties because obviously I do not actually know any of these people outside of Twitter and TV. It seems like their chemistry could work, but maybe I’m just being greedy.
However, if I had to pick a host, here’s my list
- Jonathan Capehart is experienced, a skilled interviewer with a lot of energy and a breadth of knowledge. He recently interviewed President Obama. Jonathan remains unflappable when his guests go nuts and pulls the conversation back to the main issues with aplomb and dignity. I also think having an openly gay Black male cisgender host in the major lineup of MSNBC is a big deal. A lot of young Black queer kids and BIPOC queer kids can see themselves.
- Tiffany Cross – Tiffany is one smart woman and has energy to spare. She’s already using her trademark pending #CrossTalk to lean into the hashtag culture. She tolerates no bullshit, she does not tone down her enthusiasm for certain conversations, and she’s very open about her own experiences, particulary living without health insurance. And MSNBC continuing the tradition of Black women hosting this time frame has a lot of value.
- Maria Teresa Kumar – she’s been great, very dignified, articulate and passionate. A Latina host would be a great diversification of the lineup, especially joining Alicia Menendez on the weekend lineup. But Maria Teresa runs a company so I have no idea if she’s even interested in a FT hosting job.
- Zerlina/Jason – I’m tied here because I’ve only had limited exposure to both. I’ve been following Zerlina the longest because of her writing.
Essentially, MSBC can’t really go wrong with any of these hosts.
What I don’t want to see is some outsider white cishet male swoop in to revamp the entire time slot. Adding Joy Reid to the weeknight lineup still leaves it leaning heavily toward white male cishet voices with Chris Hayes, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Brian Williams. Plus, Joe Scarborough. We need more representation of people who are not skinny white cishet folks.
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