Tom Brokaw to lead Meet the Press until 2008 presidential election
On the heels of his graceful stint hosting the first Meet the Press days after the death of its longtime host Russert, NBC announced today that Brokaw would take over the show at least until the 2008 presidential election.
It's a move that made so much sense, many TV critics called for it within days of Russert's death June 13 from a sudden heart attack. NBC needs a well-known, respected face to take over its flagship political program, and few name besides former lead anchor Brokaw would provide the level of gravitas and star power needed to maintain the show's ratings lead during a crucial election cycle.
I hope it's a temporary measure. As I pointed out last week, Meet the Press needs a face for the future. As as respected, astute and eerienced as Brokaw is, he's also the Face of TV Past. At a time when America faces a landmark choice for the presidency, it would be nice if TV's greatest political show looked toward the future as well.
Here's NBC's release:
TOM BROKAW TO SERVE AS MODERATOR OF "MEET THE PRESS" THROUGH 2008 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
(New York) – June 22, 2008 – Beginning on Sunday, June 29, NBC News' Tom Brokaw will serve as moderator of "Meet the Press" through the 2008 presidential election. The broadcast will continue to originate from the NBC News Bureau in Washington D.C. The announcement was made today by NBC News President Steve Capus.
"A lot has been said in recent days about what 'Meet the Press' means to NBC News and to the nation," said Capus. "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."
"Some of my best memories from covering the last several presidential elections have included working closely with Tom, so I know just how lucky we are to have him step in as moderator for 'Meet the Press,'" said executive producer Betsy Fischer. "His intellect, focus and calming presence is exactly what we need to move forward smartly and remain the No. 1 public affairs show on television as we head into one of the most pivotal elections in our nation's history."
For his part, Brokaw said, "I've been appearing on 'Meet the Press' since the days of Watergate when it was moderated by Lawrence E. Spivak right through the distinguished tenure of my great friend, Tim Russert, so I feel right at home. Tim made 'Meet the Press' the center of the universe for informative and lively discussions of public affairs, particularly the exciting 2008 campaign for president, and I intend to continue that commitment to our viewers."
Betsy Fischer is the executive producer and Michelle Jaconi and Rebecca Samuels are the producers of "Meet the Press," which is seen on the NBC Television Network from 9-10 a.m. ET in most markets. In Washington D.C. and New York City, the broadcast is seen from 10:30-11:30 a.m. ET. Please check local listings or the "Meet the Press" website (www.mtp.msnbc.com) for television and radio broadcast times in your area.