Kornacki inherited the early morning slot from Chris Hayes, another bright young thing on a roll, a little over a year ago. Hayes made the show a hit in the hinterlands of weekend morning television, especially among the kind of millennial viewers who make advertisers drool. Kornacki’s now building on that momentum.
That he’s doing so through a mix of nerdsmanship and old- fashioned shoe leather, as opposed to partisan zeal, makes him a curious specimen of cable news, where the loudest, most opinionated pundits tend to win the most eyeballs. “He’s doing something unusual on TV,” says Josh Benson, a close mentor and one of Kornacki’s former editors. “He’s a natural facilitator of conversation, but at the same time his reported analysis is so good that he’s actually leading coverage of national stories.”