How Greta Got Brett Favre to Go On the Record

By SteveK Comment

favre_7-15.JPGFNC anchor Greta Van Susteren has had a busy past few days.

Van Susteren flew to Wisconsin Friday to interview Sen. John McCain, returning to Washington Saturday to host a special Tony Snow tribute show, then Sunday flew to Mississippi for an exclusive interview Monday with Green Bay Packer Brett Favre, and last night was back in DC anchoring On The Record.

“It’s been great,” Van Susteren tells TVNewser. “I love my work. It’s not that hard, it’s more sort of a question of whether you have the stamina. I’m lucky I have this job. This happened to be a busy weekend.”

Van Susteren says the Favre interview came about Saturday night, as she was preparing for her show. At about 8pmET, an hour before she went on the air, an unrecognizable email entered her inbox. It turned out to be from Deanna Favre, Brett’s wife.

“I called Deanna and she said Brett wants to talk and he believes Packer management is only giving out part of the story,” Van Susteren says. “I said fine, I’ll be there Monday and she said great. I was very busy concentrating on the [Tony Snow] special.”

She adds: “I’d like to say I got the Favre interview because of dogged determination but it kind of fell in my lap.”

Well, sort of. Van Susteren interviewed Brett in September 2006 and interviewed both Brett and Deanna Favre last September at Lambeau Field. Greta is a Cheesehead herself. “I’m a shareholder, I know a lot about Packer history, I grew up 20 minutes away from Lambeau Field,” she said.

She’s also conducted many sports interviews, including New York Giant wide receiver Plaxico Burress.

So, what does this shareholder want to see happen with the Pack?

greta_7-15.JPG“Either management makes a strategic decision and decides to trade him or they do the decent thing and cut him loose in recognition of what he’s done for the franchise,” says Van Susteren. “It’s a family team — we can afford to be decent rather than strategic.”

Van Susteren also talked about the loss, this weekend, to the Fox family: “Saturday morning I got the horrible email at 6am that we all got,” she says. “I called up and said, ‘Look, I love Tony, we all love Tony here.’ In the make up room Tony was all the artists favorite. And the make up artists don’t lie. So I wanted to do it for Tony.”

Throughout the day, Van Susteren and her staff lined up guests from President George H.W. Bush to Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, who “agreed to wake up at 3am in Germany for the phone interview.”

Other guests included Washington managing editor Brit Hume and CBS News’ Bob Schieffer, who matched up against Snow during a Battle of the Bands.

“It was all hands on deck, and everyone moved quickly,” she says. “The reason was how much we all loved Tony. We had just gone through it with Tim Russert, but with some distance, since he was at NBC. But he was also one of these unique individuals because he was a good guy to everybody.”

Van Susteren says the group who traveled with her to interview McCain on Friday and Favre on Monday is “pretty much a one man band,” including one producer, Debi the Make Up Artist (who also helps book remotes, among other responsibilities) and a freelance crew hired at the locations. “We’re very slim here, we don’t have a big entourage. We travel all over the world with each other,” she says. “We know the drill with each other and don’t need a lot.

“Six and a half years ago, I joined Fox News Channel and the level of excitement about gathering news continues to be contagious — and that is how the interviews happen.”