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August 29, 2015

NBC settles on David Gregory for Meet the Press

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 8th 2008 9:57AM
MTP GregoryThey passed the torch on NBC yesterday. After weeks of speculation, it wasn't either Ted Koppel or Rachel Maddow that received the choice assignment. Nope. It's David Gregory who'll take over Meet the Press -- effective immediately. On Sunday morning's broadcast, interim host and NBC anchorman emeritus Tom Brokaw made it official by officially letting the world know it was a done deal by presenting Gregory on air.

Apparently, some at NBC were miffed that this information was leaked last week, spoiling the big surprise today, but really, there wasn't much suspense. Joel wrote about it. The selection of David Gregory is a safe, solid and somewhat staid choice.

It's not that David Gregory isn't capable or qualified. I think he's very good on his MSNBC show, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and as chief White House correspondent during much of President George W. Bush's administration, he was fine. In fact, there were times when he was a real pain in the neck to the White House which is likely how he distinguished himself to the NBC higher-ups.

My concern with David Gregory is just this: he has very big shoes to fill. The memory of the late Tim Russert casts a very large shadow. Gregory will be forever measured against Russert's tenure, much more so than any of the other Meet the Press moderators in the 61 years of the show. Critics won't say, "Well, he's no Lawrence E. Spivak." They'll say, "Tim Russert would have done that interview better." Russert helmed Meet the Press from December 1991 until his death last June, and it was during his years that the show reached the pinnacle of Sunday news programming.

If NBC were really willing to take a chance and think outside the box, Rachel Maddow would have been the choice. She's the rising star in the news world, as the success of her MSNBC show has proved. She's been getting major media coverage and would have brought that spotlight to Meet the Press. Every week would have been newsworthy. With David Gregory, I don't think there's a single person who will tune in to see what he has to ask. He better have a great ability to land interesting guests, otherwise Meet the Press will be reviewing his choice in a year or two and coming back to Rachel Maddow -- if she's still available!

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December 08 2008 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Filling the shoes of Tim Russert is an almost impossible task--even for Tom Brokaw.

David Gregory will constantly be compared to Tim, but I think over time he will make it his show.

The big challenge is going to be ABC's This Week--George Stepanopolous will probably be able to book more Democrats, and may give MTP a good run. Thank God for Tivo.

December 08 2008 at 12:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like the choice of Gregory and I'm willing to give him a chance to prove himself. Probably everyone would come up short when compared to Russert. I don't think Maddow would have been a good choice. While I watch and enjoy her show on occasion, she has already pegged herself as a liberal pundit. MTP needs to remain a serious news show with as little political bias as possible.

December 08 2008 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

As much as I like Rachel, she doesn't have the experience to helm a show as prestigious and important for NBC as MTP. She has just barely started her career as a regular TV personality.

Gwen Ifill supposedly was a frontrunner for the job, and I think she would have been an absolute amazing choice. She does a superb job on PBS, and would have bought a real gravitas to MTP (not as good as Russert, at least at first, but she would have grown into the role).

I'm pretty sure Russert and Ifill were fairly close, so he would have approved the choice (I think).

December 08 2008 at 12:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Settle" is the right word here. Gregory is the most boring choice imaginable. If they had to choose from their crop of election journalists Chuck Todd would have been so much better. More than anyone, he stepped into the role Russert usually played during the elections; in fact, I thought he was much better than Russert had been in years.

December 08 2008 at 11:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Jimmy's comment
Joey Geraci

Uhm, no. I used to like Chuck, but he has turned into as much a pedantic pundit as the rest of them towards the end of the election season, and lost anything that made him special (just look up the clip of him nodding and agreeing with all the Republican talking points spewed out of Scarborough's mouth, it was just disgusting)

December 08 2008 at 12:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

I absolutely agree with your thoughts on Gregory, though.

December 08 2008 at 12:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ok, good for David Gregory. More and more Americans get their news and info from multiple sources on the internet these days anyway. From anything other than a pure ratings perspective it doesn't really matter who hosts MTP or any other Sunday politics show these days. Maddow could still get one at CBS or ABC or even FOX. NBC can just create one for her like they did for Matthews. His is horrible anyway they should just give her his.

December 08 2008 at 11:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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