As a way of honoring Tim, the Newseum in Washington will create a Tim Russert exhibit. The Newseum is a journalism museum, and the curators have come up with a unique way to pay tribute to Russert: they will re-create Tim's NBC News office as it was on the day he died, June 13, 2008.
I saw Chuck Todd and His Goatee take a bigger and bigger role in the coverage, stepping into Russert's nightly role of presenting and analyzing the latest blizzard of polls to come out, and I thought he'd make an interesting choice for moderator. Then Tina Brown floated the idea of Rachel Maddow as moderator, and I was also intrigued, given her rise to punditry stardom and her surprising even-handed manner.
But, if a report from the Huffington Post is to be believed, Gregory will soon be named the moderator of the program. Which is too bad, because this gave NBC an opportunity to do something different.
Last week, Bob speculated about Ted Koppel joining NBC to anchor the show, and he was certainly be a credible choice. Tina Brown at The Daily Beast web site has another idea; she says that Rachel Maddow should take over Meet the Press.
My first reaction to Brown's idea was, "No, not Rachel." But that was just because I wouldn't want Rachel to give up The Rachel Maddow Show, her prime time MSNBC show. I enjoy her daily take on the world of politics. She's smart, insightful, a good interviewer, and despite her liberal leanings, surprisingly critical of the left. She could bring all the critical thinking to MTP.
Thankfully, NBC has decided once again to do different election coverage than their kissing cousins at MSNBC. So instead of David Gregory trying to moderate slap fights between Keith Olbermann, Joe Scarborough, and Chris Matthews, we get the relatively dignified analysis of Brian Williams, Chuck Todd, Tom Brokaw, Andrea Mitchell and Ann Curry. Whew. Looks like I selected the right network.
Some observations from the first couple of hours of coverage:
- Chuck Todd really has to shave his goatee. Yes, it was nice for awhile. But he might be the host of Meet the Press after this election is over; how can any one take him seriously with that "look, Ma, I can grow a beard!" look?
- Ann Curry is doing exit polling in a green room. Not a green screen, mind you, but an entire green room. It's freaky. Williams wanted to assure us that Curry was safe from those flying graphics. Nice of him.
- Does Williams have to remind us of his blue-collar, fire-fightin', hard-drinkin' past at every turn? "It's probably not a good thing that I know where Finnegans' Wake (a bar in Philly that's Obama's HQ there) is" he says to Mike Taibbi. Thanks for the insight into your past, Bri.
Like I said, Brokaw is not in his element with Meet the Press. Fortunately, he's only doing MTP until after the election. I give him credit for stepping in when Russert died unexpectedly and there was a network crisis. However, looking to the future, NBC needs to find the right person to take the big chair. NBC News chief Steve Capus is reportedly thinking about a rotation of hosts, including Chuck Todd (NBC's political director) and David Gregory (host of Road to the White House, MSNBC).
NBC News is opting to insert an element of change in its convention coverage. The network announced today that the late Tim Russert's son, Luke, has been hired by NBC News and will be put on his father's beat, politics.
Luke Russert's first assignment is Decision 2008, where he will be correspondent-at-large at both the Democratic and Republican conventions. While this hiring smacks of nepotism -- or allegiance to the memory of Tim -- Luke is not without some journalistic skills. He's a Boston College graduate, majoring in History and Communications, and has been co-hosting a sports talk show on XM Satellite Radio. He shares the microphone for that program, 60/20 Sports, with political analyst James Carville.
The death of comedian George Carlin on Sunday was just as shocking -- and also attributed to a heart ailment -- but for Mr. Carlin there are many hours of his work available and relevant to rebroadcast. It'll give audiences a chance to re-appreciate his unique brand of comedy. In his long tenure with HBO, George starred in 14 comedy specials. Now, you'll be able to see a few of them one more time.
HBO is presenting a series of encore presentations, including his last concert, George Carlin: It's Bad for You, on Friday, June 27, at 9 o'clock (ET) on HBO (the main channel). The show debuted in March. But that's not all.
I'd like to begin this week's offering by adding my thoughts on the untimely death of Tim Russert. I didn't know him personally, so anything I could say about the man would pale in comparison to all the nice things his friends and co-workers have already said.
What I will say is that the irony of Russert dying on Father's Day weekend so soon after writing his book, Big Russ and Me (which chronicled his life with his father as well as his son Luke), is so thick that twenty years from now, it will be hard to believe that it happened the way that it did.
As a guy who rarely watches the news and gets most of my information from The Daily Show, I appreciated Russert's informative and entertaining style of reporting.
Steve Capus, NBC News President, made this statement about Brokaw's decision to step in: "To have someone of Tom's stature step up and dedicate himself to ensuring its ongoing success is not only a testament to his loyalty to Tim, but his enduring commitment to NBC News and our viewers."
After 21 years helming the program, Tom Brokaw retired from NBC Nightly News in 2004.
Tim Russert died of a heart attack last week on June 13th. He was 58.
[via Yahoo TV]
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.
In an unannounced and potentially savvy political move, Senator Hillary Clinton, appeared on the NBC late night comedy and showed that she can laugh at herself. This surprise appearance, coupled with her agreeing to be on Monday's Daily Show with Jon Stewart, can only help her in Tuesday's primaries in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont. It's pretty much desperation time for the Clinton candidacy and if Hillary wants to make it to the Denver convention with a chance to beat Barack Obama, she must win Texas and Ohio -- the big states -- decisively.
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