'Morning Joe' team praises Tucker Carlson's success on Fox

'Morning Joe' team praises Tucker Carlson's success on Fox
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MSNBC's "Morning Joe" team on Wednesday praised former MSNBC host Tucker Carlson on the success of his new Fox program, which has nearly doubled predecessor Megyn Kelly's ratings in a key category at 9 p.m. ET.

"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," co-host Joe Scarborough said.

"He’s doing really well. His numbers are up. Tucker’s doing well," said co-host Willie Geist, who started out at MSNBC as a producer for Carlson's program on the network, which ran from 2005 to 2008.

Carlson took over the 9 p.m. slot on Jan. 9, shortly after Kelly announced she would be leaving for a daytime program on NBC.

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Since doing so, "Tucker Carlson Tonight" is up 95 percent in the 25- to 54-year-old demographic most coveted by advertisers compared with the same period in 2016, when "The Kelly File" occupied the time slot.

Carlson has averaged 775,000 viewers per night in the category, while Kelly averaged 398,000 during the same time period last year. "The Kelly File" finished No. 2 overall in the cable news race in 2016, behind "The O'Reilly Factor."

Fox had reportedly offered Kelly $100 million over four years to stay with the network last fall. The former corporate attorney-turned-broadcast journalist said spending more time with her three young children in the afternoon and evening was ultimately more important. She reportedly took less money to go to NBC, where she won't be hosting a show every weekday night as she did at Fox.

"America’s having a love affair with Tucker Carlson," added MSNBC panelist Mark Halperin on Wednesday.

"He’s very quick and clever," said co-host Mika Brzezinski.

Scarborough — who has had his share of public spats in the past with Kelly — concluded the conversation by saying Carlson has defied many expectations.

"A lot of people were concerned when Megyn Kelly left that the numbers would go down, but they’ve actually gone up."