The Today Show’s Willie Geist Shares His Not-So-Guilty Viewing Pleasures

And why he thinks Bar Rescue’s Jon Taffer is the best character on TV


Age 40

Claim to fame Co-host of the third hour of NBC's Today and co-host of MSNBC's Morning Joe

Base New York

Twitter @WillieGeist

Adweek: What's the first information you consume in the morning?

Willie Geist: The first information when I wake up at 4 a.m. is an email from our producers that summarizes the things that happened overnight and things we should look for this morning. But then I go right to Twitter. I follow so many people and news organizations from left, right, middle. I treat Twitter like a news ticker, basically. Then I click on my newspaper apps, go through The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, then I'll get a little deeper into it with Politico or Bloomberg Politics.

What other social media platforms do you use?

I use Instagram a good bit, but I use it less as a news source than just for posting and looking at images.

Who do you follow?

Mindy Kaling is always fun. I admire people like her who are so committed to Instagram that they'll be in a moment and still take a picture and get it up online. It's not purely promotional; you're actually following her life. I also like photographs from Magnum Photos, GQ, our Today show photographer Anthony Quintano.

What's your favorite app?

I love Trulia. It's like window-shopping whenever I'm traveling. You click on it, you see what you could buy in that town, you immediately lament the fact that you live in a New York City shoebox with two children, you call your wife and tell her, "We're moving." And I have the Jeopardy! app, which is a good one.

Have you ever been on Jeopardy!?

No, I have not. I think I would love it because I love trivia, but it could be a double-edged sword. You have a bad day on that show, and it stays with you forever. People will think, "Oh, that guy's not too bright."

What's on your reading list?

Actually, I just reread The Looming Tower, which is about the birth and growth of Al Qaeda and has a lot of lessons to be taught about what's happening now with ISIS.

What are your favorite TV shows?

At the moment, Bar Rescue. I'm obsessed with it because it takes the whole "extreme makeover" idea to the next level. Those shows always have some feel-good aspect, but on Bar Rescue, [host Jon Taffer] just gets in and berates people and tells them not only are they bad at what they do but they're also bad people. He's maybe the best character on TV.

What's the last thing you binge-watched?

The Netflix show Narcos. I watched that during a one-day trip to L.A. and just thought it was phenomenal. It's one of those series where you're loving it and you can't get enough and when you reach the finish line you start to get upset and kind of sad about it because you don't want it to end. To me, that was the most exciting show of this year.

Do you have a guilty-pleasure show?

Well, my wife would say I should feel guilty about watching ESPN Classics. Sometimes she'll walk in on me watching the 1996 Sugar Bowl, and she's like, "Really?" I think she thinks that's a bit of a sickness and I should feel guilty about it, so I'll go with that.

This story first appeared in the Dec. 14 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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