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David Gregory New Moderator Of “Meet the Press”

December 2, 2008

Not my first choice.  While I very much like David Gregory there were others such as Gen Ifill that I absolutely love.

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Network executives tell Playbook that NBC News plans to name David Gregory moderator of “Meet the Press,” infusing one of television’s most-prized franchises with a sharp edge leavened by a youthful style and versatility. Gregory, 38, celebrated his 30th birthday – complete with cake – aboard George W. Bush’s presidential campaign plane, the assignment that solidified his stature as a network rising star. Enjoying a gravitas boost from his prematurely salt-and-pepper mane and friendships with Tom Brokaw and other of the legendary figures of NBC News, Gregory quickly became one of the biggest network stars of his generation.

The plan to anoint Gregory, first reported by The Huffington Post, is not final but will be as soon as today, the executives said. The decision was made by Jeff Zucker, president and chief executive officer of NBC Universal, and Steve Capus, president of NBC News. As NBC’s chief White House correspondent, Gregory has been a dogged – occasionally prickly – questioner of both the president and his press secretaries. The perceived tension benefited both sides, and Gregory maintained productive relations with senior officials. Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said Gregory would be “an excellent choice”: “No one was a tougher, more aggressive questioner in the Briefing Room than David Gregory. But when it came time to go on the air, he was always nothing but fair.”

Gregory’s playful side emerged during stints as guest host of the “Today” show and of the former “Imus in the Morning” back when the simulcast was the most successful part of MSNBC’s lineup. Gregory’s current assignment is anchor of “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with David Gregory” (formerly “Race for the White House with David Gregory”), an hour-long talking-head show on MSNBC at 6 p.m. Eastern. The title of “moderator” – unique in network news – reflects the 61-year history of “Meet” as the premier forum for Washington insiders to talk to the country and each other.

The choice carries long-term ramifications for NBC and its news division. “Meet,” the longest-running program ever on network television, is a cash cow and a major source of prestige for NBC Universal and its corporate parent, GE. However, ABC officials hope the change provides an opportunity for George Stephanopoulos to increase the cachet of the competing “This Week.” Brokaw was named “interim moderator” after the death in June of the beloved but formidable Tim Russert at age 58, a loss that is still felt in the Washington bureau. Ratings have remained strong, and even grown, with Tom in the chair. On Sunday, Brokaw is to interview President-elect Obama in his first appearance on the program since July, when the show originated from London as he concluded an overseas tour.

One Comment
  1. December 2, 2008 7:54 PM

    I think David Gregory is a good choice to fill the big shoes left by the death of Tim Russert.

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