Who's replacing Tim Russert?
Think about it: he wasn't only the longtime moderator of Meet The Press, where he took the venerable show and rejiggered its format, making him the face of the show. He was also NBC News' Washington bureau chief and the main political voice for the network. "It's going to take four or five people to replace Tim," CBS' Bob Schieffer told The New York Times.
For now, though, the immediate question is who will replace him on Meet The Press. Speculation is already underway.
According to the Times article, as well as some others, a few names have popped up: White House correspondent David Gregory, MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough, Keith Olbermann, and Chris Matthews, and Katie Couric (if she gets ousted from the CBS Evening News) are the biggest names on the list. Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw have been mentioned as temporary moderators that might help smooth the transition.
My choice would be David Gregory. He's done a nice job substituting for Russert on MTP in the past, and past White House press secretaries can give chapter and verse about Gregory mixing it up with them during daily briefings. He's a rising star on the network, and NBC might think that MTP would be a good vehicle to catapult him into superstar status. Finally, unlike Olbermann, Scarborough and Matthews, he's more of a reporter and less of a pundit (even though he recently started hosting his own MSNBC show, Race to the White House), making him a less polarizing choice.
No matter who they choose to be the permanent moderator, there will likely be a rotating set of hosts for the time being, a group that will likely include Gregory and chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell. Brokaw doesn't seem to be a bad choice for the transition, though; he's tough but fair and carries the knowledge and experience someone like Gregory is just too young to have right now.
What do you folks think? Can you think of any better candidates? Let me know in the comments.