George Is Taking Baby Steps

What’s the sound Tim Russert hears way far off in the distance? The sound of George Stephanopolous creeping up on him (slowly, admittedly, but every waterfall begins with a raindrop, right kids?):

    He was George Stephanopoulos, the host of “This Week.” During the most recent ratings sweeps period, in November — something like the New Hampshire primaries for advertisers, networks and local stations — Mr. Stephanopoulos surged past CBS’s “Face the Nation” and its host, Bob Schieffer, to finish in second place among the network public affairs shows. It was the first time Mr. Stephanopoulos, 45, had moved out of third place since he took over “This Week” in Sept. 2002, a notable milestone, even if “Meet the Press” on NBC continued its commanding hold on first place…For all the progress Mr. Stephanopoulos has made in recent months and years, his task still remains formidable. Since early December, his broadcast — which this season has drawn an average viewership of 2.6 million — once again fell behind that of “Face the Nation” (2.8 million) and “Meet the Press” (4 million), according to Nielsen Media Research.

Read the rest here, and don’t misss these gems:

  • :”An intense, at times humorless, man who, out of camera range, still sometimes wraps his ankles around the legs of his chair and pulls his knees in close during an interview…”

  • “One example of how self-deprecating he has become was evident in his recounting of a ‘walk and talk’ on camera with President Bush last year in rural North Carolina. After a few minutes, Mr. Bush observed, with some glee, ‘Man, you’re sweating.’

    Indeed, Mr. Stephanopoulos had begun perspiring so profusely that he was forced to retreat inside a giant refrigerator at a cafeteria near where the conversation was taking place, before continuing. Afterward, he said, Mr. Bush had paid him what he considered a high compliment: ‘Good talk. I appreciate you didn’t make it about you.'”