As the son of broadcast journalist Bill Geist, it was presupposed that Willie Geist would become a recognizable face on television. It was sports, however, that appealed to the younger Geist. The 6'4" Geist showed talent in football and basketball, but he fell short in both during college. He finally chose to follow in his father's footsteps by studying journalism, but kept his focus on sports, beginning his career editing at CNN Sports Illustrated. In 2005, with a decade of production experience under his belt, Geist stepped away from sports and into the political news arena as a senior producer on "The Situation with Tucker Carlson" (MSNBC, 2005-08). With the firing of controversial broadcaster Don Imus in 2008, Geist became a fill-in host for MSNBC's early morning news slot. His glib, genial presentation garnered instant attention. Soon he was co-hosting "Morning Joe" (MSNBC, 2007- ) with Joe Scarborough, and launching his own series, "Way Too Early with Willie Geist" (MSNBC, 2009-2012). Geist's witty, politically liberal voice garnered fans for both shows, as well as Geist's well-trafficked blog, "Zeitgeist," and numerous books which he authored or co-authored. His breezy amiability also made him a perfect fit for the position of third hour host on "Today" (NBC, 1952 - ) where he had first appeared as an occasional replacement for host Matt Lauer. With his affable, game-for-anything attitude and impressive journalistic credentials, Willie Geist was one of morning television's most genial and genuine personalities.