'Morning Joe,' now brought to you by Starbucks

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Sports fans have become inured to the productification of everything, from the Mcdonald's (MCD) "I'm Lovin' It" play-of-the-day to the baseball crotch adjustments brought to you by Lamisil (joke). Now fans of the morning talk show on MSNBC, Morning Joe, can expect the same treatment during their morning newsertainment fix: Starbucks (SBUX) has become the sponsor of host Joe Scarborough's morning cup of coffee.

According to The New York Times (NYT), Starbucks bought the naming sponsor rights to the show, a natural since the host has been drinking a Starbucks brew on camera since the show began. Starbucks references will be included in the show's logo, and a voice-over will announce that the show is "brewed by Starbucks." Morning Joe might also occasionally broadcast from Starbucks stores. The show reportedly is getting in excess of $10 million for the naming rights.

The show originated as a replacement for Imus In the Morning after Nappyheaded-ho-gate, and has become a staple of the MSNBC morning lineup. It currently pulls 400,000 to 500,000 viewers daily, according to tvbythenumbers.com, narrowly trailing CNN's American Morning.

While the show promises that this naming sponsorship will not sway its reporting on Starbucks, I am very skeptical. The Chinese walls between the ad sales department and the news division may have been solid in the days when advertising dollars were plentiful, but as the market fragments and companies cut ad budgets, the temptation to compromise may be overwhelming. Here's a challenge,Morning Joe -- to demonstrate your resolve, invite me to appear on the show, and let me bring along my logoed cup of White Castle coffee.

This article brought to you by Visine, the eye drops that allow bloggers to continue ranting and raving, no matter how many hours they spend in front of the video monitor.
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