Politico’s “exclusive”: Gregory out at MTP, Todd in … maybe

posted at 6:41 pm on August 11, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

We’ve seen lots of speculation about the status of David Gregory, who has hosted the network’s heretofore unassailable Sunday talk show Meet the Press since the death of Tim Russert in 2008. At least since April, when a report emerged that the network had conducted psychological assessments of Gregory in order to find out why the show was slipping, it had become apparent that the man who’d been with NBC for more than 20 years was skating on thin ice. A month later, the longtime producer of MTP fled the coop to join the competition at ABC’s This Week. It seems like just a matter of time before NBC gives Gregory the heave-ho; in fact, that speculation has been ongoing for over two years now.

Today, Politico sent out a “siren” with the “exclusive” that Gregory was on his way out:

politico-gregory

That’s a bold report, with both an “exclusive” and a “siren” to accompany it. Chuck Todd would be the safe pick to replace Gregory once Gregory leaves, for the reasons Mike Allen lists. While Todd gets his share of complaints about bias at NBC, he generally treats subjects with more personal distance than others (especially at MSNBC), plus engages his audience much more than many of his colleagues inside or outside of NBC. I’ve interviewed Todd a few times while guest-hosting the Hugh Hewitt show and regularly engage him on Twitter, and believe Todd treats most subjects fairly and refrains from the perceived activism that Gregory projects on occasion. Todd is their top political reporter; the only other potential insider choice would be Andrea Mitchell, so it’s not exactly a surprise that Todd would be short-listed as Gregory’s replacement when the time comes.

But, er … has the time come? Three paragraphs into the exclusive, readers discover that the decision, or possibly decisions, have yet to be made:

The sources caution that nothing is definite or decided.

What does this disclaimer mean? Is it that Todd isn’t definitely in the MTP anchor seat? That wouldn’t make much sense, since the lead didn’t claim that decision hadn’t been made anyway; it just said he was the “likely successor,” which was always the presumption for an internal hire. Does it mean that the decision on Gregory isn’t definite? “Nothing is definite or decided” implies that neither has yet been finalized, which makes the siren and the “exclusive” claim look a little foolish. This looks like something between a rumor and a trial balloon, which isn’t much different than The Daily’s July 2012 report that NBC was looking for the exits on Gregory’s contract.

NBC offered a quick denial to the claim:

NBC moved Monday to brush aside a report on the website Politico that the network may try to reboot the ratings for its venerable “Meet the Press” by replacing moderator David Gregory with Chuck Todd.

An NBC representative said the network has no official comment. At the same time, sources at the network dismissed the Politico report as a spinoff from speculation among reporters who are covering President Obama’s vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. …

In recent years the show, once dominant in the Sunday morning talk show ratings, has slipped into third place behind ABC’s faster-paced and glitzier “This Week” and CBS’s “Face the Nation” with Bob Schieffer.

That’s hardly surprising or definitive, either, especially since everyone knows MTP is in trouble. Only two things are really definitive: NBC has spent the last couple of years letting Gregory twist in the wind, and Gregory had better freshen up the resumé at some point. The bottom line here is that this kind of inside dope is worth reporting, but with a bit more subtlety rather than with the “exclusive” and “siren” treatment.

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Is David Gregory psychologically fragile? Could he have a breakdown or be a threat to himself after getting canned by NBC? I know they did a psyche evaluation on him awhile back.

portlandon on August 11, 2014 at 6:46 PM

Are they worried but David Gregory is going to go postal?

cat-scratch on August 11, 2014 at 6:48 PM

I don’t think any of the Sunday talk shows draw the audiences they used to. However, I don’t expect them to disappear either.

Todd is a more engaging person but not sure how much more “fair” he will be.

cat_owner on August 11, 2014 at 6:50 PM

One Obama mouthpiece for another and NBC still can’t “get it” why they’re playin’ to a wiltering audience.

Rovin on August 11, 2014 at 6:51 PM

Are they worried but David Gregory is going to go postal?

cat-scratch on August 11, 2014 at 6:48 PM

I’m sure they are – since he’s known to carry around illegal evil deadly high cap assault mag clips – just one of those things can kill hundreds of people….

dentarthurdent on August 11, 2014 at 6:54 PM

Why not just hire Barack ? He has the time, he knows politics, and he is a celebrity name.

steveracer on August 11, 2014 at 6:54 PM

no doubt Tom Harkin is overjoyed

r keller on August 11, 2014 at 6:55 PM

Liberalism is about as popular right now as boiled spinach, which is also why NBC is tanking in viewership. The echo-chamber has rarely been this lonely.

Rovin on August 11, 2014 at 6:55 PM

At least the siren admits that the talking head position is a “classic television performer guaranteed to wow focus groups”. I imagine they weren’t breaking the mold when Gregory got the job, psychological faults and all. Heh.

AH_C on August 11, 2014 at 6:56 PM

Tweedle dumb and tweedle dumber.

Lonetown on August 11, 2014 at 6:56 PM

They’re both Obama-sucking liberal tools. This is the kind of story Ed inexplicably gets excited about.

Newsflash, Ed: They don’t agree with you on anything in life, and they are incapable of objective journalism, as each of them has proved beyond all doubt. They are activist Democrats … who cares?

Jaibones on August 11, 2014 at 6:57 PM

He should be replaced by Jiminy Glick

portlandon on August 11, 2014 at 6:58 PM

“Meet the Press” just look at the democrat party leaders.

SouthernGent on August 11, 2014 at 6:58 PM

Alright . . . . . let’s have a list of qualified journalists at NBC (msnbc, cnbc), and we’ll take a hotair poll to see who we think would best be a host/hostess for MTP . . . . . . . huh? Ohhh . . . . . . . alrighty then, lets have a list of journalists at NBC (msnbc, cnbc), and we’ll take a hotair poll to see who we think would best be a host/hostess for MTP.
.
Wow … I didn’t think Tim was perfect, but we’ve fallen so much further since then . . . . . : (

listens2glenn on August 11, 2014 at 7:02 PM

One Richard Head replaced by another.

ToddPA on August 11, 2014 at 7:04 PM

F Chuck Todd won’t improve ratings one bit.

ConstantineXI on August 11, 2014 at 7:04 PM

OT: Robin Williams found dead in home. suicide.

portlandon on August 11, 2014 at 7:05 PM

OT: Robin Williams found dead in home. suicide.

portlandon on August 11, 2014 at 7:05 PM

RIP.

Fallon on August 11, 2014 at 7:07 PM

OT: Robin Williams found dead in home. suicide.

portlandon on August 11, 2014 at 7:05 PM

Awful news. No matter what you thought of his politics, dude was a brilliant comedian and dramatic actor and he performed a lot of shows overseas for the troops. A tragic loss.

Doughboy on August 11, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Is Gregory expecting a set-aside job from PBS or does he plan to lobby for the DNC directly on K Street?

viking01 on August 11, 2014 at 7:14 PM

SSDD
msdnc hack…..

cmsinaz on August 11, 2014 at 7:14 PM

portlandon on August 11, 2014 at 7:05 PM

RIP

hate to be cynical but you know dear leader will make a statement during his vacay for this

cmsinaz on August 11, 2014 at 7:16 PM

I’m sure they are – since he’s known to carry around illegal evil deadly high cap assault mag clips – just one of those things can kill hundreds of people….

dentarthurdent on August 11, 2014 at 6:54 PM

Sounds like a technical term.

Lolo on August 11, 2014 at 7:18 PM

The sources caution that nothing is definite or decided.

That’s because the source is Chuck Todd, or someone in his camp.

Joseph K on August 11, 2014 at 7:18 PM

Hmmmm.

Gregory was too partisan to suit me, but Todd has said/written so many stupid things . . . and is partisan, as well.

Death spiral of a once great news show.

EdmundBurke247 on August 11, 2014 at 7:24 PM

Was shill David Gregory’s pink slip in French ?

(The firing papers not his weekend wardrobe….)

viking01 on August 11, 2014 at 7:26 PM

Andrea Mitchell,

Hahahahahaha!

GarandFan on August 11, 2014 at 7:31 PM

They have obviously been grooming Todd for sometime, he’ll be a huge improvement.

Tard on August 11, 2014 at 7:40 PM

I still think it’s amusing that prior to people knowing who “Obama” was that I feel certain that Chris Matthews would have inherited this show. Alas, he met and fell head over tingles in lust with a man and became a laughing stock even to friends in his own profession. :-)

Marcus on August 11, 2014 at 7:45 PM

One Obama shill for another? WTF NBC? Ya’ll aren’t too bright are ya?

bernzright777 on August 11, 2014 at 7:49 PM

♫ He’s a lumberjack he’s okay,

Sleeps all night works all day…♫

viking01 on August 11, 2014 at 7:51 PM

heretofore unassailable Sunday talk show Meet the Press since the death of Tim Russert in 2008.

Every so often I think of Mr. Russert and his untimely (timely?) death. I think he would have been all over Obummer and Co. like white on rice and the Chicago Mafia knew it. Yeah, I think there’s a possibility that he was taken out.

Tim Russert interviews Barack Obama

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 11, 2014 at 7:56 PM

I want to comment and will add to the count but saying who cares seems rude to Ed.

Cindy Munford on August 11, 2014 at 8:01 PM

As far as news goes, does NBC have any credibility left? They may think there’s no spill-off from MSNBC but many of their news people cross-over to do shows on MSNBC.

Another factor is Gregory. I can remember him, as a White House correspondent grilling the whimpy press secretary Bush had for a while, where I thought he was going to cry. Suddenly, there’s a Democrat in the WHite House and Gregory is all about towing the Obama media line.

I can’t think of anyone, at NBC, who has any credibility today. Even Chuck Todd is an Obama cheerleader and is not likely to do what needs to be done, which is ask the tough questions to both Republicans and Democrats. Russert was excellent at what he did and I actually looked forward to watching him, I don’t even bother to tune in to Gregory.

Of course, if you want to see an issue covered, you watch Fox News and you don’t have to watch it at 9 in the morning, it’s on 3 times each Sunday. I’ve seen it where I catch a 1/2 hour at 2 p.m. and then finish it at 6 p.m. Who comes next I’m not sure. ABC completely blew it by not picking Tapper to host This Week and, after the debates I don’t trust Stephanopolous or Candy Crowley, which leaves Face the Nation. Every once in a while, Face the Nation will do it right, but not often.

Funny thing is I miss George Will on ABC. Sure, he’s on Fox but it’s not the same as being a voice in the wilderness on ABC.

bflat879 on August 11, 2014 at 8:41 PM

RIP

hate to be cynical but you know dear leader will make a statement during his vacay for this

cmsinaz on August 11, 2014 at 7:16 PM

If I can be irreverent on this thread (since it’s OT) – Obama might take a selfie where he’s holding a RW DVD.

22044 on August 11, 2014 at 8:48 PM

Someone should remind the empty suits at NBC of Einstein’s definition of insanity….

Athos on August 11, 2014 at 8:54 PM

Does this mean Gregory’s kids can no longer go to school with Obama’s kids?

Realdemocrat1 on August 11, 2014 at 9:51 PM

I haven’t watched TV in a long time. However, when I did I thought Todd was a washed-up second-tier at best. I’m surprised they aren’t looking for a fresh face to try and measure up to late Tim Russert.

PBH on August 12, 2014 at 12:26 AM

the only other potential insider choice would be Andrea Mitchell

HDTV is no friend of Angrea.

pain train on August 12, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Andrea M? You have got to be kidding. Biggest liar in news and that is saying a lot. She is way past her sell by date. These supposed “news” media have lost their way long ago and that is why no one is watching. They are bought by and owned by Obama’s administration and Demos and RINOS and moderates, which is why so many of us are Independents or whatever, but not Democrats nor Republicans, both parties have lost their way and headed down communist/sharia street. We choose not to move to that neighborhood, thank you.

Roselle on August 12, 2014 at 11:59 AM