EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 6, 2014

MSNBC's Roberts named host of 'Way Too Early'

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — NEW YORK (AP) — MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts will be getting used to early hours as the new host of the network’s “Way Too Early” program.

The cable network on Friday gave Roberts the job as anchor of the newscast, which airs from 5:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. Eastern just before “Morning Joe.” Roberts will also be a contributor to “Morning Joe.”

The irreverent “Way Too Early” was a springboard for former host Willie Geist, who is now a regular on “Morning Joe” and hosts an hour of NBC’s “Today” show.

Roberts will give up his current 11 a.m. anchoring slot, a post that hasn’t been filled yet.

“Thomas’ unique personality and point of view are just the right mix to lead-in to “Morning Joe,” network president Phil Griffin said in the statement. Meanwhile, Roberts, who currently anchors MSNBC’s 11 a.m. weekday hour, called the new role “a very exciting opportunity.”

The announcement confirmed an earlier report from the Daily Caller that said Roberts would be replacing Brian Shactman, who took Willie Geist’s place in May.

Roberts, who is openly gay, made headlines a few months ago after accepting an offer to co-host the Miss Universe pageant in Russia. He defended the decision, saying that his trip would lend support to Russia’s LGBT community, which currently faces persecution under the country’s anti-gay legislation.