Back when Brokaw was hosting the nightly news, the network evening news hosts were considered the arbiters of what an informed citizen needed to know. With so many more sources of information available today, Brokaw urged consumers of news to be discerning about what they listen to. "I think it requires the viewers to be much more vigilant on their own part, to take much more responsibility for where they get their news, what kind of news they get, what are the sources. They have to develop a filtration system, which is possible," he explained.
Last night's Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien carried the same air of "Who gives a f#*$&?", even if he'll still have an 11:30 show to do the following night.
Now thanks to the magic of the Internet's never ending series of tubes, you can relive that shocking and happy day when the wall finally fell. Former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw went to the former site of the oppressive cement figure over the weekend and filed a brief interview with Meet the Press' David Gregory last Sunday on the momentous anniversary.
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.
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.
NBC decided to stick with the tried and true this year -- an anchor, the old sage analyst, and a few other people to help along the way. No real outrageous commentary, no poop-eating grins from any of the anchors (Keith Olbermann stayed on MSNBC) or anything that would be construed as "interesting" or "entertaining."
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).
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced that NBC's Tom Brokaw, PBS's Jim Lehrer, and CBS's Bob Schieffer will be the moderators, with Gwen Ifill, the host of PBS's Washington Week handling the chores for the one vice presidential debate.
What's interesting here is that of the big three, ABC is not represented. Among the cable news crowd, Fox News and MSNBC were equally snubbed as was CNN.
I can't say why ABC was left out of the loop. However, George
Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson were both roundly criticized for their work on the Democratic debate they helmed.
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]
Today on TV Squad Daily:
- Some TV firsts: the one-in-25 million, three-way Jeopardy tie, and hardcore porn hosted by Tom Brokaw.
- Reality TV power-couple Rob and Amber were eliminated from The Amazing Race, but promise that their new project is going to blow our minds.
- Little House on the Prairie was cheesy enough without Melissa Gilbert and Patrick Swayze making it into a play.
Station managers say someone in master control did it intentionally because, well, there's just not a lot of hardcore porn laying around at the Christian affiliates these days. It sounds like the station isn't sure who did the dirty deed because managers are promising a "rigorous investigation" and termination of whomever is responsible. I'm guessing the person who did it is a tad bit disgruntled with his/her boss and welcomes the firing. Viewers in Phoenix said the porn stayed on the television between five and ten minutes and there was no sound.
Did anybody see this?
The first thing I thought of this morning when I heard that former President Gerald Ford had died was this Saturday Night Live sketch from 1996. It features Dana Carvey as NBC newsanchor Tom Brokaw, taping a "Gerald Ford is dead" story ahead of time (which the networks and news outlets sometimes do). They cover all the bases, since they don't know how Ford will eventually die, including getting shot ("Gerald Ford shot dead today at the senseless age of 83"), suicide, mauled by wolves, and killed by zombies. They also do a take where Brokaw comes out of the closet, because that story combined with Ford dying would be a big ratings grabber.
If you haven't heard, Ford really did die last night, of natural causes, at age 93. Video after the jump.
[via Best Week Ever]
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