With Change Coming to MSNBC, Morning Joe Fights Back Against CNN’s New Day

By Mark Joyella 

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Thursday’s all-hands meeting at MSNBC could not have come at a better moment for Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski and the team at Morning Joe.

Uncertainty is in the air at NBC’s struggling cable news network, with shows facing cancelation, Chuck Todd returning to host a daily politics program, and Brian Williams set to set up shop at MSNBC sometime after his suspension ends in August.

It’s not the time to be seen as a weak spot in the network’s lineup. Fortunately for Morning Joe, talk of Donald Trump and the intensifying presidential campaign has helped the show hit a ratings milestone. A review of Nielsen ratings data shows for the first time in 2015, Morning Joe beat CNN’s New Day in the critical A25-54 demo for five consecutive weekdays. (7/16-7/22)

From January through June, Morning Joe posted wins over New Day in the demo just ten times. But on three occasions in June, the MSNBC show beat CNN among key A25-54 viewers two days in a row.

One of those back-to-back wins for Morning Joe included the morning of June 9, when New Day fell to fourth place in the demo–and, notably, it was the day after CNN worldwide president Jeff Zucker took a shot at Joe Scarborough, saying the MSNBC host’s sagging ratings meant “it’s probably about time to start getting your résumé ready.”

Second quarter ratings were not encouraging for Morning Joe, with CNN boasting that New Day had beaten its rival at MSNBC for the fourth straight quarter in the demo, and that Morning Joe had fallen to its lowest quarterly A25-54 delivery in more than seven years. (And neither show comes anywhere near cable news’ morning leader, Fox News’ Fox and Friends)

But for a network looking for signs that something may be working, Morning Joe’s weeklong winning streak will surely be seen as good news coming at a very good time.