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October 10, 2015

Who's replacing Tim Russert?

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 16th 2008 12:01PM
Tim RussertI'm sure a lot of you were scratching your heads over the weekend, wondering how Tim Russert's passing merited the all-encompassing, presidential-like coverage it got, especially on his home network of NBC. He's only a reporter, right? Why the wall-to-wall coverage? Well, first of all, it seems that by all accounts, Russert was one of the most well-liked people in the news business, so the outpouring might have been a function of people mourning a friend who was taken from them too soon. But, I have another, more off-beat theory as to why NBC did a broadcast version of sitting shiva for Russert: it was because they have no idea how to replace him.

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.

[via Mediabistro]

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Please !!!! I loved the way Tim R. always was FAIR.. Take your time to find a replacement,Yes I lean to the right on most issues so I enjoyed the way he handled the spin. The show was never about him, it was about getting information for US , .The talking heads on cable are tainted all of them...look outside the box

June 20 2008 at 5:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you want someone not mentioned, try Christiane Amanpour. She has the "chops" and is one of the finest international reporters in the world. She is known as hard nosed, fair and honest. Unlike most of the people mentioned above, she has actually done dangerous reporting in the hot spots around the world. She may not be a Washington insider, but she is damned good.

June 19 2008 at 1:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


June 18 2008 at 6:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Al Blanco

What about Maria Bartaromo? She's a good interviewer, is smart and has loyally served NBC (CNBC) for years.

June 17 2008 at 7:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I know I'm a bit late and wondered how quick it would be when the speculation started.
I agree with the suggestion of Tom B. to host until - at least after the election.
After considerable thought, I think it may be best to retire the show as Meet The Press and introduce a similar show. I sense that no matter who gets the job as MTP moderator that there will be comparison and tons of criticism.
I considered the NBC current staff and came up with the same names - they have their own shows and it makes little sense to move them. I've seen Andrea Mitchell sit in and while she does a credible job - she is best at what she does.
There can be no "cookie cutter", so regretfully, I go full circle and say retire the show - let it go out after the election and use this time to format a different Meet the Press and find the "perfect host".
In closing, yes Tim R. will be missed!

June 17 2008 at 4:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just a few thoughts:
- It was wonderful to see the honor that MSNBC gave to Tim Russert this weekend. It was so deserved. He rose in fame not for negative publicity but for actually doing his job amazingly well, not being afraid to show his faith, having a wonderful since of humor and above all sharing his amazing love and pride for his family. I will miss him so much and we will all miss the education we would have received at his feet through the upcoming election.

- Personally I would like to see Tom Brokaw fill in through the election. Chuck Todd or David Gregory would make a great MTP moderator, but pleasssse no Katie Couric.

June 17 2008 at 8:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jason Hendrix

Gwen Ifill stands head and shoulders above any other candidate, in my mind. She is masterful as the host of Washington Week - smart, funny, quick on her feet. She'd be the perfect replacement.

June 17 2008 at 2:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My Sunday morning reitual for the past year has been to wake up, gather the dirt clothes for wash, fix a pot of coffee. and breakfast for me and my son. after I do all that I sit down; and being on the east coast DC area @ 10:30am I'm watching Tim. He made the difference as to why I'm more into politics. My condolences to his family, his wife, son, and father. As for who will sit in his chair, it will be a tough choice for NBC; but my top three would be (1) John King: he has made his bones at CNN and his past work during the primaries has been exceptional. I know it would be hard for NBC to pry him from his contract from CNN, but I think he is head and shoulders better than anyone mentioned. (2) Tom Brokaw: he still has that charisma that people believe in; fairness and honsesty, but can he handle it "EMOTIONALLY"! (3) Andrea Mitchell: I always liked her while listening to Imus. I think she is the wild card who would do just fine.

June 16 2008 at 8:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm going out on a limb a little, but what about Juan Williams? I've been a huge fan of his ever since Talk of the Nation on NPR back in the day. Tom Brokaw would obviously be an awesome choice.

Bottom line though, as folks have already said, no one will replace Tim Russert. He was a giant: the absolute best when it came to grilling the candidates.

June 16 2008 at 7:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Chuck Todd gets my vote.
He isn't well known enough to be perceived as left or right leaning. He has a vast knowledge of the politics too.

June 16 2008 at 6:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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