MSNBC’s Morning Joe took the unusual step Wednesday of praising Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on the astounding success of his new show, which has surpassed all expectations ratings-wise since taking over Megyn Kelly’s old time slot.
“I’m hearing, it’s shocking to me, that his numbers actually are far outpacing anything Megyn Kelly’s ever done over there at 9 o’clock,” said co-host Joe Scarborough.
“America’s having a love affair with Tucker Carlson,” MSNBC panelist Mark Halperin said.
Since taking over on January 9, Tucker Carlson Tonight’s ratings are up 95 percent in the key 25-54 demo compared to the same period last year when Kelly held down the 9 p.m. time slot, and the show has seen a big jump in total viewers as well.
Carlson’s interviews—in which he skewers liberals—combined with his still boyish charm, has won over viewers, much to the relief of Fox News brass. There is no doubt they were concerned when Kelly bolted for NBC, leaving a big hole in their primetime lineup.
“He’s very quick and clever,” said co-host Mika Brzezinski whose political views are opposite to those of Carlson.
CNN and MSNBC thought they might be able to take advantage of Kelly’s departure and narrow the gap between them and Fox News, but instead that gap has only grown larger as viewers flocked to Carlson’s show.