This week, Joy Reid began her new show The ReidOut on MSNBC, in a coveted primetime slot left open by the abrupt retirement of Hardball host Chris Matthews. Reid is best known to MSNBC viewers as the host of the beloved weekend morning political talk show AM Joy and as an often called upon substitute host for her primetime colleagues, Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes. Her former show AM Joy had been a ratings success with a regular viewership topping 1 million and a devoted fan base known as the #Reiders, who made her the most-tweeted journalist at MSNBC in 2017.
The daughter of a Guyanese mother and Congolese father, Reid has consistently used her platform at MSNBC to show up for immigrants, POC, women, and other marginalized groups. Her ascension to primetime makes her the only Black woman to host a weekly primetime newscast on network television, and the first since the passing of the late, great PBS NewsHour anchor Gwen Ifill in 2016. Reid is acutely aware of her position as the sole Black female voice in primetime and also of the ability of her identity to inform and color the work she is doing. She sees her background as an opportunity to share a new perspective rather than something that must be buried to comport with vague notions of objectivity, as some legacy white journalists may have her believe. In an interview with The New York Times, she stated that “I am a Black mom, a Black woman, a Black daughter. I am also a journalist who can conceptualize that pain from a unique point of view. Every day I’m in this job, I’m very conscious of that responsibility to make that collective voice heard. It’s unique to do that as a Black woman.”
Reid’s path to primetime is somewhat unconventional. She began her career in journalism in the late 90’s working for a local station in Southern Florida after having worked for a New York consulting firm. For the next decade she worked in a variety of Florida-based journalism roles, on and off air, with brief stints in between working to oppose then-President George W. Bush’s reelection and later working to support the election of future-President Barack Obama. Beginning in 2011, Reid served as Managing Editor of the news site The Grio, a division of NBC News which catered to an African-American audience. She began her career at MSNBC three years later, with the short-lived weekday afternoon show The Reid Report. Despite its cancellation after a year, she was able to leverage her performance on the show into a successful gig as an MSNBC national correspondent. She held that role until she was awarded host of her own weekend morning program AM Joy in 2016, a role she held until her recent promotion to primetime.
The ReidOut began this week with an all star lineup of Democratic politicians, eager to both comment on the news and congratulate the host on her new show. To give context to the caliber of guests the program has been able to attract, in her very first episode Reid hosted both Former Vice President Biden and Former Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton. In that same episode, Reid explicitly made it clear that President Trump’s authoritarian tendencies were of particular concern and would be further explored in subsequent episodes. She has made clear that she will not dance around the issues that face the United States.
The debut newscast closed with 2.6 million viewers, the second highest number for that time slot in MSNBC history.
Congratulations to our Cousin Joy!
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