Betsy Fischer, executive producer, and Tim Russert, moderator, “Meet the Press.”
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images for Meet the Press.
TVWeek marks “Meet the Press”‘s 60th Anniversary with several interesting features.
TVWeek: How does your assignment as NBC’s varsity inquisitor affect the rest of your life? You do live in Washington. It is a political town.
Mr. Russert: I think it has enhanced my ability to get calls answered and to get information, which I pass on to my fellow correspondents. I have dual hats. One is moderator and managing editor of “Meet the Press” and the other is bureau chief. I think they enhance each other.
TVWeek: Has anyone ever dropped you from their Christmas card list?
Mr. Russert: Oh, yes.
TVWeek: How do you maintain the level of energy or commitment when you’ve been No. 1 for so long? How do you not get full of yourself?
Mr. Russert: If you’re from Buffalo and you have three sisters, it’s pretty easy. The reason I wrote the book about my dad is because the lessons of life can be summed up in one word: grounded. Grounded is everything. You’ve got to stay grounded, to know who you are, where you came from and what’s important in life. With my dad and my sisters, and my mom until she died two years ago, I had the cheapest and most accurate focus group that I could ever have. They’re unbelievable.
TVWeek: How long do you envision doing “Meet the Press”?
Mr. Russert: My contract’s up in 2012. I will be 62 years old. I’ll see how I feel and how the program is doing and go from there. I will have been on the program in 2012 for 22 years. I’m now the longest-serving moderator
Her road to her ideal job started when she was a junior at American University. Browsing through a list of student internships, she spotted the listing for “Meet the Press” at the NBC News bureau a couple of blocks away.
“I can sleep late and walk to work in the morning,” she thought.