The Wall Street Journal is reporting that MSNBC is expected to name Joy Reid its new 7 p.m. time slot host.
WSJ reporter Joe Flint cites sources saying that network will tap Reid to anchor a daily news and opinion program during the hour that was vacated by longtime occupant Chris Matthews in March.
MSNBC is declining comment.
Matthews left his weekday 7 p.m. perch on March 2, and since his departure, the hour has been fronted by a rotating group of MSNBC hosts, usually Steve Kornacki, Ari Melber (who already anchors the network’s 6 p.m. hour) or Reid, who was hosting the time slot when the WSJ report first surfaced.
A frequent presence on the network, Reid is best known as the host of AM Joy on MSNBC, which airs from 10 a.m.-noon ET on Saturday and Sundays. She has hosted AM Joy since April 2016.
Until February 2015, Reid hosted a weekday show, The Reid Report, on MSNBC. During that 14-month gap, Reid had been reporting and commenting on the presidential campaign. She joined MSNBC as a contributor in 2011.
Assuming this report is accurate, Reid will join Fox News’ Harris Faulkner as the only African-American female hosts on weekday cable news. MSNBC traditionally averages more total African-American viewers than its cable counterparts.
Quite frankly, MSNBC ratings in the 7 p.m. hour haven’t been great since Matthews’ departure. He often built on Ari Melber’s 6 p.m. audience, at least when it came to Total Viewers. However, 7 p.m. on MSNBC is now losing a chunk of its 6 p.m. lead-in. Why? Well, it’s tough for viewers to become attached to a time slot when there’s no permanent host.
Plus, MSNBC viewers had become accustomed to opinion, not anchored-news in the hour, and executives undoubtedly hope the progressive Reid will serve as a more successful lead-in for Chris Hayes’ 8 p.m. show than the hard news MSNBC Live has. Better ratings for Hayes means better ratings for the rest of the network’s prime-time lineup, which has been coming up short to CNN lately in the key A25-54 demo.
Not long after Matthews’ departure, we polled TVNewser readers on who they thought would be his successor in the 7 p.m. time slot, and only 9% of you said it would be Reid. Shep Smith was the most popular choice to take on 7 p.m., (40%), followed by Nicolle Wallace (19.5%), Kornacki (10%), Brian Williams (10%) and then Reid, followed by a variety of other MSNBC hosts.
Reid found herself in hot water a couple years ago over a series of reports about old controversial blog posts. One promoted a 9/11 conspiracy theory in which she wrote, “Flying the Mexican flag on U.S. soil strikes me as incredibly presumptuous and insulting to the U.S.,” and another that shows a Photo-shopped image of Sen. John McCain as the Virginia Tech shooter. The post, titled Baghdad John Strikes Again, notes the 2008 GOP presidential nominee’s statement that he would “follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell.”
However, she would also make the bizarre claim that homophobic posts on her old blog were planted by hackers, and that her lawyer said the FBI was investigating the alleged hack. It’s unknown if anything ever came of that investigation.
Reid later apologized for her blog again, both on her show and in a separate statement in 2018: “While I published my blog, starting in 2005, I wrote thousands of posts in real time on the issues of the day. There are things I deeply regret and am embarrassed by, things I would have said differently and issues where my position has changed. Today I’m sincerely apologizing again.”