The Mirror

The Romantic Vibe At ‘Morning Joe’

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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Frolicking in the sand and surf. Khaki’s rolled up. A sexy sundress.

If MSNBC’s morning TV duo Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski aren’t a couple, then why are they acting like it? They’ve been painted together in pictures by artist Peter Max, who appeared on their show in May. They now use both those paintings (below) as their Twitter avatars.

The Mirror has learned they even have a private photographer who follows them around for those endless morning collages.

In the painting Mika uses for her avatar, she’s in a chair that nearly looks like a wheelchair, with Joe behind her and leaning in (the network might like that touch). In Joe’s, on the other hand, the pair are frolicking in a beach scene. He’s in front, she’s following behind.

On a side note, the paintings are truly breathtaking.

His avatar:


Her avatar:


Whatever their relationship, the sexual tension definitely works for the show.

The tension works off the show too in terms of the press attention it attracts. A Vanity Fair photo brief ran in October, 2012 featuring a racy picture of Mika showing serious leg on a table with Joe wearing a frat boy grin, remarked on the TV couple’s tension: “Even though they are both married, with children, their on-air chemistry can come across as charged, even flirtatious, the cable equivalent of Nick and Nora Charles.”

It should be noted: In 2013 reports surfaced that Scarborough had what was dubbed a “quiet” divorce after 12 years of marriage to Susan Warren. The papers, according to TMZ, were filed in September, 2012, a month before that picture ran. Scarborough and Warren told TMZ that after much “prayer and counseling” they decided divorce was the best option.

In 2009, TMZ reports, Scarborough and Brzezisnki denied they are anything but friends.

“I think initially it was amusing and intriguing and just like the show it’s grown old,” said a TV media insider on condition of anonymity. “I also think she plays the dumb girl too much, you know?”

Another TV insider who wanted to remain nameless said the relationship on “Morning Joe” only works as husband and wife model.

“Here’s the deal, whether they are or are not, I have no idea. The reality is, there has to be this sort of intimate relationship that exists in order for that kind of show to be successful,” the media expert explained. “Otherwise it is D.O.A. You can try to fake it. Or you’re simply going to be busted for not being authentic. The real word here is authenticity. Do these people get along? Do they have a connection? What is it that they have that is going to be make me want to sit with them in the mornings?”

Of course, actual touching may not work so well.

“In many ways, it mirrors a husband and a wife and their relationship,” the TV insider continued. “It’s not like those two are holding hands or rubbing each other. I can tell you spouses of TV husbands and wives understand [the dynamic]. They understand that a male and a female host, especially on an opinion show, they’re going to communicate differently. They spend an inordinate about of time together. When they are on the road together, they are spending time together. The public is really looking to them as Joe and Mika, Mika and Joe, not Mika Brzezinksi and Joe Scarborough.”

The source’s psychological TV analysis continued. “If you want to make a comparison, look at the difference between those two and the absolute brick wall that is between [CNN’s} Chris Cuomo and Kate Balduan. I’m not really trying to hang out with them. Just give me the news, shut up and move on. On Morning Joe, Willie [Geist] is their older son. Joe is clearly the daddy who is in charge of the household. Mika is the mom who takes the secondary role of the husband. When the other people come on, they are essentially people who drop by and visit. Everybody understands their role. She makes him softer. She makes him more palatable for an audience that may not want to hear him. You may not like the husband but you tolerate him. Same goes for the wife–you may not like her, but you tolerate her with him.”

TV couples who never had what they have: Regis & Kathie Lee (father and daughter vibe), Matt Lauer and Katie Couric (good friends), the aforementioned Chris Cuomo and Kate Balduan (brother and sister), and Kelly Ripa and whoever her non-sexual current co-host is.