What’s Morning Joe’s Solution To Plummeting Ratings? Book More Republican Guests


morning joe mccain

It is no secret that MSNBC’s Morning Joe is hemorrhaging viewers. Over the past few months, the morning program has seen its audience bail in droves, seemingly heading over to CNN’s New Day, which has passed Morning Joe in both total viewers and the key 25-54 demographic. On Tuesday, Nielsen Media Research revealed that Monday’s program only attracted 56,000 viewers between 25 and 54 and 284,000 viewers overall. This was far behind New Day, which pulled in an audience of 125,000 from the 25-54 demo and a total of 341,000 viewers.

This news came on the heels of the disaster that was the much-hyped yet DOA Friday night broadcast. The network attempted to use co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough to help ‘hype’ up the Super Bowl, which NBC was airing. Despite the promise of a Katy Perry appearance, Morning Joe at Night feel completely on its face. Given both the 8 and 9 PM slots that are typically occupied by Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow, Mika and Joe were trounced by CNN, drawing nearly half as many viewers as Anderson Cooper in both slots. For context, the ratings-challenged Hayes beat Cooper by over 100,000 on Monday night while Maddow drew more than 400,000 viewers than CNN.

With it becoming painfully obvious that people are tired of the program, its format and (most of all) its hosts, the show decided to shake things up a bit Thursday. What exactly did they do to appeal to a younger demographic? They booked old, white, male Republicans, that’s what they did! Early on in the show, they brought on 78-year-old Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to complain about President Obama and convince everyone that endless war against ISIS is the way to go.




After grumpy old McCain’s appearance, Morning Joe did bring on a younger guest, 71-year-old Bill Bennett, a former Reagan cabinet member and current conservative radio host. Bennett was on to promote his most recent book about how marijuana is evil and America needs to stop trying to legalize it.

Another segment later on may not have had an old GOP chestnut on as a guest, but instead focused on what a well-known Republican wrote in an op-ed. The Morning Joe panel decided to discuss what Republican strategist and former “Bush Brain” Karl Rove had to say about the upcoming 2016 election and why Democrats will lose.

As Jason Easley pointed out last week when discussing the plummeting ratings of Morning Joe, the network’s chief seemingly has no clue as to who MSNBC’s potential viewers are, and has made decisions to continue to drive away the audience.

MSNBC boss Phil Griffin has continued to tout Morning Joe as one of his successes, but the reality is that MSNBC viewers have no interest in the program. The collapse of Morning Joe highlights one of the biggest inconsistencies in MSNBC’s strategy. Griffin claims that he wants to attract younger viewers to the network, but he appears to be completely in love with a program that does poorly with the same viewers age 25-54 that he is courting.

Morning Joe, along with the rest of MSNBC, is dying a slow ratings death. MSNBC lost 23% of their primetime viewers and 39% of their younger viewers in comparison to January 2014. The problems at MSNBC continue to be driven by leaders who have no clue who their potential viewers are, and what they want. The strategy of deploying series of Rachel Maddow clones throughout the schedule has chased viewers away while diluting the distinctiveness of their star program.

The decision to book McCain, who has never passed up a chance to appear in front of a camera, and Bennett, an old warhorse of the GOP who was there to lecture on smoking pot, shows the absolute disconnect this program, and likely the network, has with the viewers it is trying to attract. They just aren’t interested in Scarborough pushing tired Republican talking points while kissing up to conservatives.

40 Replies to “What’s Morning Joe’s Solution To Plummeting Ratings? Book More Republican Guests”

  1. I am 61, and was a huge Keith/Rachel/O’Donnell fan a few years back. I never watching Joe and suck Mika, although mu mom continues to. Now, I get all my news online. I see segments from Rachel sometimes, and read about her show. But I rarely watch any television, and since all the ‘news’ stations are now Koch-controlled, what’s the point? I know what they want: no regulations on anything, more billions into their untaxed accounts (how much money do two men need anyway..all of it?) , taxes on the poor and middle, lower wages, no unions, mo safety standards, and oil and gas wells and pipes everywhere. Oh, and more of our poor and uneducated kids sent off to fight someone else’s wars. No thanks.

  2. Sally,

    I’m 61 also. I am right there with you – I don’t watch cable news hardly at all anymore. MSNBC has wrecked itself to the point that Rachel and Lawrence only get my viewership on occasion now.

  3. The problem with MSNBC is that they failed to push the Democratic agenda.They kept bringing on the negative energy from the GOP.And the Dems would come on and not defend themselves.

  4. Morning Joe should be a FOX News show. I NEVER watch this show! No wonder MSNBC is losing viewers.

  5. Joe belongs on FAUX news. I can’t stand him and his condescending attitude. He thinks nothing of telling his guest that it is his “show”.

  6. I used to enjoy this show but omg lately theres aways Republicans on…Rarely Democrat congress people…..Also Harold Ford now that hes working for Wall street has totally changed most of his views..I guess the money has pulled him over to the Big business side….They have fired all their good host..starting with Phil Donahue ..then Olberman,,then I forget the ones name and then Bawldwin….FOX FIRES NO ONE…They need to wake up and smell the coffee…fight fire with fire…

  7. I have also seen Will Cain on his show recently, including today.

    Will Cain works for Glenn Beck at The Blaze.

    Cain filled in for Thomas Roberts on Monday when Roberts could not get back from the Super Bowl due to the storm.

    Cain was also recently been on a CNN show that got cancelled. Can’t recall the name of the show….

  8. Why hasn’t the show been cancelled if ratings are this bad? If this were a show on one of the major networks night time lineup, it would have been cancelled by now. Same for MTP.

  9. McCain abd Bennett are both gamblers. They should stick to what they know, games of chance, and stay out of politics. They can not stand that a younger, much more intelligent man than either of them has won election TWICE, all open and above board. No dirty tricks involved, or even Not-So-Supreme Court decisions. I know one fact for certain, if Hillary DOES run she will chose her VP much more carefully than little lumpy Johnny did. The PayMe plague goes on and on. Has she been a democratic politician, she would have been shoved off camera long ago. We do not suffer fools.

  10. When you want the ‘ol warhorse to advocate for BOOTS ON THE GROUND any and everywhere—book McCain. He will tell you why Obama isn’t “protecting” America. And how ISIS is going to wreck havoc over the planet like Ghengis Khan. And to stop them we MUST send OUR troops back to the wall to kick ass and take names. McCain and Lindsey won’t be happy until we put boots on the ground to wipe out ISIS and avenge every head cutting and people burning they have managed to get away with—and— SHOW us— and— DARE us to come get them! Right, McCain and his sabre rattlers want a fight, one that will presumably last another 13 years. McCain should stay away from the media. His message is NOT welcome today.

  11. WAKE UP!

    Comcast and Phil Griffin know exactly who their audience is.

    That’s why they’re working hard to turn MSNBC and all their viewers into another Fox News.

    Remember? Their mission to brainwash and indoctrinate the station’s viewers started by getting rid of the powerful Keith Olbermann.

    If we keep sleeping, pretty soon, they’ll have a pod for all of us.


  12. So, one article (that I’ve recently commented on), pretty critical of Chris Hayes.

    This one, he’s at least beating Anderson Cooper…

    Also, his shows continue to have a high diversity of guests.

    At least we can agree that the Morning Joe at Night experiment was a failure. I’m betting that the short lived Alec Baldwin show had better ratings.

  13. McCain has never met a war he didn’t like. If he won the election in 2008 (and then reelected) we’d still have boots on the ground in Iraq, and we possibly would have been drawn into conflicts in Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Ukraine, and who knows where else. The thing most disturbing to me, though, is that you never hear about an exit strategy. Going in is the easy part. Getting out is a lot more challenging.

  14. When prisoner Bo Bergdahl was released due to Obama prisoner swap, I remember Scarboro
    making a remark, he said he would tell his son to go back and do his duty and not be a coward. Now whenever I hear any of them war mongering and talking about boots on the ground I always want to ask when their sons are going to go and do their duty.
    Re FOX – apparently the British Guardian is calling FOX – the propaganda arm of Al Quaida and Isis.

  15. All I can say is keep booking these old white guys who are republicans and they will continue to see people leaving. Joe is a bully.

  16. You want higher ratings, don’t bring out this
    old man who clearly has only one hit wonder to sing: WAR.

  17. …you forgot the ultimate teahadist apologist and toady…Chucky Todd {“It’s not my job to call out Republican lies.”} MSNBC needs to eject the two {Morning Joe and Todd…} Their propaganda got old real fast… lol


    Actually while I totally agree about Morning Blow, I still watch the primetime shows, especially Big Ed & Rachel, as they are not-at-all “evolving” into righties. Have to admit I still love Matthews, even tho he’s annoying & sometimes cringe-worthy, he’s still one of us. Hopefully Griffin doesn’t do any more harm….

  19. I’m 66 not in the 25 to 54 age group but what I am is a progressive Democrat that quit watching MJ when I realized they were promoting a tired old Republican instead of the progressive agenda. If you profess to being a progressive network then stop ramming Joe and his hand puppet Mika down our throats. They represent everything progressives battle against. I haven’t watched in sometime and probably won’t watch again along with Meet the Lame Press.

  20. Sen. John McCain screaming “Boots on the ground” is just what we want to see early in the morning. Whose Boots John? The people you and your Repug friends want to deny affordable health care? Who you don’t want to pay a fair wage. Nobody I know watches “Morning Joke” anymore, just put it out to pasture. It’s done!!!!

  21. That is because they are paid for by the Koch Bros. I used to like the show because they were sort of balanced, I like hearing intelligent exchange from both sides. Now, Joe goes on his ridiculous rants, saying disparaging things about Liberals this and Liberals that. He always brings on Nicole Wallace, Bill Kristol and Mark Halperin. I saw a commercial one day that displayed brought to you by the Koch Bros. It was over for me then. If I want to watch someone rant and disparage Liberals and the Democrat Party, I will go all the way and watch Fox Propaganda.

  22. I remember that, I was thinking his comment had the same sentiment as O’Reilly saying he covered 4 wars with his pen.

  23. Exactly, Mika makes me cringe sometimes. She agrees with Joe’s ridiculous rants. Sometimes she shows visible fear to dispute Joe.

  24. All of msnbc’s ratings have decreased no matter the age of the guests or the host. Even the young pretty boy, Farrow. So there you go

  25. MSNBC has devolved in the years since I’ve been watching. Olbermann left, Ed Schultz got moved, and Morning Joe has become more obnoxious. Apparently MSNBC doesn’t give a crap that liberals and progressives are quickly losing interest. But that doesn’t mean that lots of young conservatives are going to watch either. Lots…are there a lot? It’s a bit like watching a train wreck.

  26. Lots of us here on the west coast in the age group over 60 suffer from insomnia, so Morning Joe is a most welcome diversion! However I have often wished it was shown at a delayed time so more west coasters could watch it…I think the ratings would improve greatly if all of the country were included.

  27. They (MSNBC) see that lying republicons and faux news draws most of the viewing audience so they are trying to replicate that. This country sells lies to it’s people and sadly the people are buying it. It’s called propaganda not news.

    Bryan Williams is being chastised for lying yet they never come out against the liars on faux news.

    To hell in a hand basket comes to mind.

  28. I was a devoted MSNBC evening watcher when KO was there and followed by Rachel. Once KO left, I stopped watching. I stopped watching network news about 10 or 15 years ago.

  29. I don’t watch any of the news stations anymore. I don’t miss them. I sure as hell don’t miss Joe Scarborough. What a loser. If I wanted to listen to rethuglican lies all morning, I would watch Fox. Can someone come up with a show for the Democrats? They call it a liberal media and I just don’t see it.

  30. I just feel they are too arrogant. Mika not genuine IMO, and Joe bloviates. Enjoy the cocktail parties while you are still on the air.

  31. I was a huge fan of the show and am in their desired demographic. Back when this show first started, I enjoyed listening to both sides opinions. Now it’s like watching Fox News and constant President Obama bashing.
    Ever since the Koch Brothers started advertising on the show it went downhill. I watch New Day along with the Today Show.

  32. I could not agree more. Morning Joe is a disgrace to TV journalism, Joe’s outright lies re Obama Care, corrected by Gene R, show him for the ass he is, Get Rid of him and Mika

  33. Glad to see ratings dropping. I watched for the first time today and was offended by Joe within 5 mins. Given I disagreed with his argument but the way he just went about it seemed very childish even as his cohost tried repeatedly to get him to stop and move to another topic. So she seemed pretty good.

  34. Especially after they invite them on, then Joe over talks and berates his guest. And his lap dog Harold Ford is the worse. I use to watch but now Ive moved on to CNN and I live in California getting up at 0300 to see MJ! But not anymore so you know it’s gotten bad.

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