With Meet The Press continuing to slide in the ratings, NBC News is starting to realize that the problem might be host David Gregory.
According to The Washington Post:
Thus, “MTP’s” meltdown has sounded alarm bells inside NBC News and attracted the attention of its new president, Deborah Turness, who arrived from Britain’s ITV News in August. Gregory’s job does not appear to be in any immediate jeopardy, but there are plenty of signs of concern.
Last year, the network undertook an unusual assessment of the 43-year-old journalist, commissioning a psychological consultant to interview his friends and even his wife. The idea, according to a network spokeswoman, Meghan Pianta, was “to get perspective and insight from people who know him best.” But the research project struck some at NBC as odd, given that Gregory has been employed there for nearly 20 years.
Around the same time, the network appointed a new executive producer at “MTP,” Rob Yarin, a veteran media consultant. Yarin, who had worked with Gregory on an MSNBC show, “Race for the White House,” during the 2008 campaign, succeeded Betsy Fischer Martin, who reigned over “MTP” for 11 years. Fischer Martin had helped Russert soar to glory, but had disagreed with Gregory over matters of style and substance (she was promoted to oversee all of NBC’s political coverage).
NBC News can tinker around the edges of the show. They can change the format, change producers, change anything that they want, but they can’t escape that the problem is David Gregory. Viewers don’t like Gregory, and they especially don’t like direction that the program has gone in.
Meet The Press used to the home of the tough interview, but David Gregory is the anti-Russert. Whether it is cable news or Sunday morning broadcast shows, the formula is the same. If viewers don’t like the host, they won’t watch the show. Over at CBS, Bob Schieffer is warm and inviting on Face The Nation. He is the perfect compliment to CBS Sunday Morning. Gregory appears cold, distant, and agenda driven.
There isn’t some magic missing formula to fixing Meet The Press. It looks like NBC might be starting to get it, and focus on David Gregory as the problem.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association