5 Questions with… Thomas Roberts

By Brian Flood 

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“MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts” makes its debut today at 1pmET. The show will air weekdays from 1-3pmET, during the time slots that used to be filled by Ronan Farrow and Joy Ann-Reid. We caught up with Roberts to discuss his new show, his cameo in the blockbuster “The Avengers” and even his favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry’s.

TVNewser: Other than sleeping a little later, what excites you about the move to dayside?

Roberts: It is a homecoming and a reunion with some fantastic colleagues and friends. Plus, I’m excited about the opportunity to take the news, energy and pace captured in ‘Way Too Early’ and deliver that in a later, extended day part. This also gives me the perfect chance to tap back into my skills covering breaking news and delivering on rolling coverage. And yeah, I can’t lie, I’m happy not to set my alarm clock for 3am Monday through Friday!

TVNewser: What can we expect from your new program?

Roberts: You can expect fast-paced, smart, reporter-driven news coverage. Our finger will be on the pulse of the day’s developments and you will feel that for two hours.  It’s a busy time of the day for most people  – so if they make time for us I want to make sure they leave our show feeling more informed about what’s happening domestically and abroad. We’ll have fun and some surprises too that we’ve baked up, and we hope our viewers will like them.

TVNewser: Will your team be comprised of “Way Too Early” staffers, or people transitioning from Ronan Farrow and Joy Ann-Reid’s programs?

Roberts: I will miss the ‘Way Too Early’ staff! They’re a fantastic group, but they also work on ‘Morning Joe’ and will be staying with their regular roles. I’m looking forward to working with our new combined team. They’re top-notch, creative and already know the news industry inside-and-out since they worked on both Ronan and Joy’s shows. Plus, I’m really proud to reveal that my colleague Frances Rivera will be joining me throughout the show to help break down the major news events of the day with extra content that will only enhance what we deliver on a daily basis.

TVNewser: You have a cameo in one of the most successful films ever, “The Avengers,” which has grossed $623 million dollars. So, how’d you end up in the film? More importantly, still receiving residual checks?

Roberts: The saying goes ‘Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.’ I wish I could say ‘Avengers’ director, Joss Whedon, said ‘We need that Thomas guy’ – but it was far less glamorous than that. The timing worked for me to tape the anchor read for the film after my show one day, and I guess you could say the rest is history!

Residual checks? I have yet to see one but people do tell me all the time they saw me in the film.

TVNewser: I saw you tweet a Huffington Post article about grilled cheese parties and it made me hungry. What’s your favorite meal in NYC?

Roberts: We have a local pizza joint in our neighborhood…so our favorite meal would be ordering a large pizza with Pepperoni and Gaeta Olives for delivery. Then for dessert Ben & Jerry’s Karamel Sutra Ice Cream. We buy two…one for me and one for Patrick. We bicker less that way!