MSNBC's Joy Reid Dishes on New Show: ‘We Have to Have Republicans at the Table’

MSNBC's Joy Reid Dishes on New Show: 'We Have to Have Republicans at the Table'

Colleague tells TheWrap that MSNBC's newest star Joy Reid will bring the “Michelle Obama effect” to cable news, but how will viewers respond?

It's been a tumultuous couple of months for MSNBC, who have dealt with several high profile controversies involving on-air talent. Last November, the channel gave Alec Baldwin's “Up Late” the boot following outrage over anti-gay comments he made to a paparazzo, host Martin Bashir resigned in December after he made inflammatory comments about Sarah Palin and Melissa Harris-Perry apologized to Mitt Romney in January after she joked about the former Massachusetts Governor's black grandson.

MSNBC hopes to turn the page with the launch of two new shows on Monday. While it's uncertain what direction Ronan Farrow will take with his program, cable news observers are very optimistic about Joy Reid, whose cerebral, mellow demeanor has won her praise from friends and critics.

Reid's amicable, chill as a cucumber on-air persona offers a stark departure from many of the fiery, hot-headed pundits of years past and pledges to provide a down-to-earth news program where viewers can both the “what” and the “why” of the day's news.  Reid also assures skeptics that she'll invite on guests with ideological diversity.

“I think we have to have Republicans at the table,” Reid tells TheWrap. “It's an open invitation, we're inviting conservatives on the show.”

She also plans on making “access to voting” a pet issue for her show.

Also read: MSNBC Announces Ronan Farrow and Joy Reid Shows on New Official Lineup

“I'm a policy wonk but we also have to be cognizant about what's going on during the day,” Reid said. “That is our responsibility at 2 p.m. — we have to tell people on the street what's going on.”

Also read: Republican Chairman Says MSNBC Is ‘On Probation’ After ‘Offensive’ Biracial Family Tweet

Reid — who has heretofore frequently guest hosted many MSNBC shows — has had a long road to where she is today at the network. “Adding Joy to our daytime lineup was a no brainer,” MSNBC President Phil Griffin said. “She's engaging, she's smart, she is going to bring a new perspective to the network.  Joy has been a regular on MSNBC for years, is beloved by our audience, and it just makes sense that she now has her own show.”

“I don't think television has a Joy Reid,” says TheGrio's David Wilson, who is a colleague and friend told TheWrap. “There's no woman like her on television — shes a black woman, who's a dark skin black woman and seeing that image represented on cable news means a lot to African Americans. It's the Michelle Obama effect! I call her the Oprah of politics, there are few people as smart as she is.”

Reid graduated from Harvard University in 1991 where she majored in visual arts and later moved to Florida where she launched her news career. She worked as a web news editor at WTVJ in Miami, hosted a talk radio show for Radio One and wrote a political column for the The Miami Herald.

Also read: Ronan Farrow Makes His Post-Hire MSNBC Debut; Talks Sinatra Paternity Revelation (Video)

Reid was inspired to make news a career trajectory after being glued to the television set as a kid during the Iran hostage crisis. She cites Ted Koppel as an inspiration for her news obsession.

“I recently met Ted Koppel and was in awe!” Reid reveals.

Reid's big break came when she met Wilson in 2011, the founder of TheGrio, a news site aimed at an African-American audience. Wilson hired her as the managing editor of the site and the platform helped her land frequent appearances on MSNBC.

“Yvette Miley recommended that I [meet] her and I flew up to New York to interview her for the site. I think the thing that made her really pop was Trayvon — it was interesting, one of our reporters injured himself, but we sent Joy, because she was our senior staffer with a Florida background and so she ended up being on NBC Nightly News and a fixture on MSNBC — that was the beginnng of her momentum.”

See video: Justin Bieber Arrest Abruptly Bumps Congresswoman Talking NSA During MSNBC Interview

Viewers might be surprised that despite her calm, cool and collected attitude on the air, Reid has a hectic schedule behind the scenes. She's a working mother with three kids — a quality that Wilson believes helped elevate her savvy of the Trayvon Martin case.

“She was made to cover that story,” Wilson explains. “It was involving a black teenager — she could relate as a mother — there was no one who covered that story better than she did and from that moment she got national exposure.”

How will she be able to go from commentary to news?

“She can pivot,” Wilson reveals. “I dont know how she does it — she stays extremely well read on everything — she has this understanding of politics that few people have and she's extremely humble and just a fun person. She can be wonkish, shes very diverse, you'll see that on her show and I imagine you'll see alot of that She has a gift worth celebrating, I think what makes her unique is you have a woman who's also breaking the mold of what you see on television. She is very authentic — she has the quality of being the woman next door. I think that is very important.”

Also read: MSNBC Fires Staffer for ‘Offensive’ Tweet About Conservatives and Biracial Families

How will Reid avoid running into controversy that's engulfed other cable news pundits?

“Joy is not nasty,” Wilson says. “Even when shes delivering something scathing — she does it with a pleasant disposition and that is part of her magic, shes smiling while she says it — wow, did she just cut him? She has the ability to not be angry.”

  • timbaobsessed

    I've already loved Joy Reid – hopefully she'll go more in the Kornacki/Hayes direction and less in the Bashir/Matthews/Schultz direction.

    • Rebecca Cline-Cole

      Joy;
      You are a joy to listen to especially since you say it without bias or hate. Always with a smile. Keep it up and I know we can always count on you which ever angle you choose on a topic. GOOD LUCK for the future!

  • kita123

    I have followed Joy Ann since she joined MSNBC and I know she will do well. I will support her everyday and hope others will give her show a chance. I too agree going on the path of Maddow and Hayes is a good guide. But I want her to give some much needed attention to needs of the minority community. Not from the civil rights position, we have “Rev” for that and he is good. More in seeing what our young minority american's are thinking of and want to talk about every day.. She could be a good boost to getting them out to vote if their concerns were being addressed.

  • hupto

    By my count she is the fifth African-American woman who currently hosts a show on MSNBC, following Alex Wagner, Tamron Hall, Melissa Harris-Perry and Karen Finney. (And that's not counting “contributors” like Nia Malika-Henderson and–until now– Reid herself.) If this were Fox, it would indeed be news, but MSNBC has always been about diversity, so let's not make more of this than it is.

  • judith

    Hi Joy….If you are concerned about voter suppression laws, please give our State Senator Nina Turner a call…She is running for Ohio Secretary of State…I make regular contributions to her campaign, am planning to help her with phone calls&knock on doors when the weather warms…She can do the job, but she needs all of us…It ids a shared goal….Whitey in Cleveland

  • joebatch

    Why the need for more R's at the table? We already know what they stand for and 99.99% of the time all they do when invited is yell and talk over others.I know what they will talk about because it's always the same old same old. Obama bad,Hillary Clinton bad,D's bad,Blacks and Hispanics all on food stamps that's why taxes are so high,IRS,Banghazi,Banghazi,Banghazi,IRS,Susan Rice bad,etc,etc. No helpful solutions only name calling and nasty comments. If I wanted a steady diet of vile I would already be watching Fox and listening to limbhage all day every day. Spare me toxic people.

    • lanche

      You are right on point about why we this Country is failing. It is also Benghazi, not Banghazi. You talk about vile listen to Chris Matthews for more than 5 minutes. You expect People who realize why this Country is failing to stick their head in the sand. Sorry not going to happen!! We have had a lot of solutions but Democrats have the power for the moment. So why are you upset? Do you ever get that sinking feeling in your stomach that this Country is failing? I know I do and it is called poor leadership and your party is in power, what is the problem? You do not want to listen to all points of view like I like to then continue to listen to MSNBC and keep your head stuck in the sand.

      • joebatch

        @lanche, So many ways to respond to you. First this country has been failing for a lot more years than just the past 6 years,things have been going downhill for at least the past 30+years and then some,all tho many like to believe it all only started in Nov,2008.I wonder why that is.Hint:greed,jobs outsourced for more profit to the ‘job creators',politicians from both parties bought and paid for by the rich and powerful top 1%. People more willing to fight with each other over who are getting the bigger crumbs,that is when they are not too busy peeking into bedrooms to make sure you are having their approved way of sex and sitting in women's doctors offices making sure that women are making their health decisions in the way that they approve of.Points of view are wonderful because the object of them is for people to learn from each other not scream,yell,and make vile comments about people they don't like for whatever reasons.(did you catch the woman on Chris Hayes ranting,raving and screaming about the Affordable Health Care law then throwing in hateful comments about President Obama for good measure to make her point. She said nothing that was helpful or informative. Finally the reason I spelled Benghazi the way I did was another way of saying Bang the drum loud so as to drown out everything else,just hear the drum beats of Banghazi,Bang the drum,Banghazi. And so I will as you put it keep my head ‘stuck in the sand’ if that keeps me from having to listen to screaming,insulting,hateful,vile and nasty rantings and ravings. God Bless.

        • lanche

          Well joe she is frustrated. Frustrated when common sense goes out the door. The left loves to use women as a crutch, that their so called rights are being affected and they play to a weakness and yet a strong point their emotions. They manipulate women in to thinking the right takes away their choices. It is such a sham and I am disgusted at how we are lied to constantly. This is when we need strong leadership and we get lied to on a minute by minute basis.

        • lanche

          One other thing joe it is not the corporations that are at,fault it is politicians that allow themselves to be lobbied. It is the government that has no budget and spends more than tax payers create. Our economic system is awesome just not when it is corrupted by our government.

  • B. Davis

    If no one watches the show how much longer will advertisers pay to push products on it? MSNBC is in the business to make money and without viewers there is no money to be made. The network would make lots of money if it followed Fox's lead and tilted its bias toward conservatives. But those who run the network would rather lose money than do that – wonder what the shareholders think about that policy.

    After all imitation of success if what television is all about and the failure to follow Fox's lead has Fox laughing all the way to the bank.