The FishbowlDC Interview WIth NBC’s ‘Tight, Bright & Right’ Andy Gross

workphoto640-480 (2).jpg Say hello to NBC Producer Andy Gross, who has been with the network since 1997. “Of course, I love it. It’s the greatest job in the world,” says Gross, a bit of a zany, caffeinated character who regularly pops up on MSNBC’s “Week Ahead” weekly video series with Domenico Montanaro. Before that, he worked at ABC for four years. Gross tells me that when he Googles himself “there’s this famous dude named Andrew Gross and he’s written a gazillion books and he’s a handsome guy” that isn’t him. He sighs. Gross grew up in the small town of Alton, Ill., which he swears is home to the world’s tallest man, Robert Wadlow. “He died in the 40s. He was almost like nine feet tall,” he says. Gross says he’s still engrossed in the news business. How come? “Because it’s fun and exciting and there’s something new everyday,” he says. “I honestly can’t see myself ever doing anything else, or I can’t see myself being hired by anyone else [laughter].”

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Dr. Pepper. It’s spicy and dark, AND I could play a doctor on TV…”I’m sorry sir, but you are going to die.”

How often do you Google yourself? Once, and was crushed to find that a more famous Andrew Gross is a prolific author of best-sellers.

Who is your favorite working journalist? Tom Junod
of Esquire.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? I recently told somebody on our assignment desk what they could go do to themselves. It was gloriously cathartic.

Do you have a favorite word? Steak

Who would you rather have dinner with – First Lady Michelle Obama or Bestselling Author and former V.P. candidate Sarah Palin? Michelle Obama, she’s cool and you can tell she has a rockin’ sense of humor.

When did you last cry and why? I get choked up easily, but a good cry? When I was 17 and my dog Cookie died. I loved that little schnauzer and she loved me.

What word do you routinely misspell? jsut

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? Vibrate, and I call myself all the time.

What swear word do you use most often? Shit

What word or phrase do you overuse? “Work with me”

What TV show do you have to watch? Nightly News with Brian Williams!

Where do you shop most often for your clothes? Have you seen my clothes? I am not a slave to fashion.

Who do you prefer for daytime talk, Dr. Phil, Oprah, Tyra or the women of The View? Don’t watch any of them.

Pick one: Leno, Letterman or Conan? Can’t stay up that late.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, which public official would you want to be trapped with and why? Barack Obama, We’d be rescued quickly but while we were waiting, I could give him a hard time about the dinner date I had with his wife (see answer above.)

Who is your mentor? John Martin of ABC talked me into jumping from newspapers to TV and taught me the ropes.

What’s the best advice you ever received in the course of your career? Keep it tight, bright and right.

For more enGrossing reading material, read after the jump…

What and where was your first job in journalism? Night police reporter for The Tampa Tribune. I never met a witness who knew the deceased or who wore a shirt.

What’s your most embarrassing career moment? If I had one, I’ve conveniently forgotten about it.

Which one interview of your career did you enjoy most? Frank Buckles, our last living veteran of World War One. He was 106 and still sharp, funny, and told stories about the war, about seeing Hitler at the ’36 Olympics, and about being a prisoner of the Japanese during WWII. He also said that of all the presidents during his lifetime, he never cared for McKinley. I love that.

Which one interview of your career did you enjoy least? Any interview with [Sen.] Arlen Specter [D-Pa.] is challenging.
What’s the biggest scoop you’ve ever had?
I had been following Sen. Don Nickles around for days, here and in Oklahoma. There was talk that Bob Dole would choose him as his running mate. When the news broke at the crack of dawn one morning that it would be Jack Kemp instead, he fumed to me on his front lawn, “Jack Kemp! I can’t believe he picked Kemp. He doesn’t even LIKE Jack Kemp.” Nice. Of course I called that nugget in and boy, did he read me the riot act later in his office. I guess he thought I was standing in front of his house at 6:30 in the morning because I was his buddy or something.