Both Cross and Capehart have taken turns guest-hosting on those weekend mornings that were once filled by “AM Joy” before Reid was promoted to the prime-time vacancy created when longtime host Chris Matthews abruptly resigned in March.
MSNBC President Phil Griffin credited Cross’s “fresh expert analysis” and Capehart’s “steadfast dedication to great journalism,” saying that both will offer weekend morning audiences “the best of both worlds from two very different life and worldview experiences.”
Capehart, an opinion columnist for The Washington Post who also serves on the editorial board, joined MSNBC as an on-air contributor in 2009.
“My goal is to give viewers a Sunday show that feeds their hunger for understanding and is worthy of their time,” he said in an email.
Like Reid, Cross and Capehart are Black. Cesar Conde, who oversees MSNBC as chairman of the NBCUniversal News Group, has made on-air and behind-the-camera diversity a priority for the network, aiming for a workforce that is 50 percent non-White. When promoted this summer, Reid became the first Black woman to host a prime-time show on cable news, a designation that she called “a huge responsibility” at the time.
Cross, who credited Conde’s efforts, told The Post in an interview, “It’s not enough to simply have a Black face on screen. An authentic Black voice is just as important.”
Her show, she said, will tell under-covered stories that are representative of different cultures and communities.
“This is definitely a show for all the people who yell at the TV and don’t feel seen or understood,” she said. “I want people to know that I understand you because I am you.”
Cross, who started in TV news as a producer for CNN two decades ago, always wanted to be a television news host. Growing up, she pictured herself being “the brown Murphy Brown,” she said, a reference to Candice Bergen’s TV show journalist character.
She said that it’s been challenging to find her place in the mostly White newsrooms she’s worked in, but feels at home at MSNBC.
“There certainly were moments in my career when I thought it wouldn’t happen,” she said. “It took a lot of chiseling away before I just declared, ‘You know what? I don’t need your welcome. I am declaring myself here, and I am excited to work here.’"
Capehart has wanted to host his own TV news show since he was 10.
“To actually live out a childhood dream is moving beyond words,” he said.