Mika Brzezinski On CBS Departure: "It Was Pretty Ugly," "It Really Hurt"

LESLEY: So, Mika Brzezinski, we are delighted and thrilled that you're with us today. This is so nice of you. I know how busy you are, and we love "Morning Joe" and we love you on it. You cover the news by chitchat, and it absolutely works. So my first question is: How did the format evolve? How did you all get to this?

MIKA: That's a great question and I think it has a lot to do with how Joe and I both evolved up and to the point that we started doing the show, which is basically the point that we met. As you know, I'd been at CBS for quite some time, twice, and MSNBC before. So I've been around. A good 20 years or so in TV will beat you up a little bit. And my departure from CBS was painful.

LESLEY: It was pretty ugly, wasn't it? Pretty ugly.

MIKA: It was pretty ugly and I don't lie about that. It really hurt. I hated leaving. I loved everyone there. I still do. And it was a very difficult experience, in terms of trying to figure out what you're made of and your identity. I considered it very much a part of me. Joe had been in Congress, has been around the block in politics and he's been beat up a time or two. And we both were kind of thrown together. I met him and Paul and he was about to do the show the next day, to fill in for the Imus show that had been thrown off the air.

LESLEY: Right.