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.”
Everything in the last year of Rupert Murdoch’s life suggested the timing: his divorce from third wife Wendi Deng, and the successive denouement in the U.K. phone-hacking scandal that ultimately led to the separation of his assets into separate publicly-traded companies. This is the beginning of an inevitable transitional period in which Rupert’s family line will consolidate power in preparation for that moment—perhaps in the relatively near future, given the advanced age at which Rupert has continued to run his business—when the 83-year-old will no longer be either alive or fit to run the two companies himself.
As such, there are many tea leaves for Murdoch watchers to read as they consider what today’s news means for the future of News Corp.—publisher of The Wall Street Journal, New York Post and newspapers in Britain and Australia—and 21st Century Fox, as well as for some of the power players who rank high on both food chains.