David Gregory: In Search of The Next ‘Beltway Booyah Moment’

By Alex Weprin 

NBC “Meet the Press” moderator David Gregory is profiled by the AP.

Frazier Moore uses last year’s unplanned comment from Vice President Joe Biden on same-sex marriage to describe what he argues is the heart of the show, the “Beltway Booyah moment” that keeps people talking, and the program relevant.

That kind of Beltway Booyah moment helps account for why Gregory loves hosting “Meet the Press,” NBC’s venerable Sunday morning public-affairs program he took over four years ago (and where he recently accepted what the network calls its “long-term commitment” for his services).

“This is an agenda-setting program,” says Gregory. “What happens on ‘Meet the Press’ can definitely make news and frame the debate.”

Gregory and his executive producer Betsy Fischer Martin both signed new deals with NBC in the last few weeks, keeping them on the program long-term. While “Meet the Press” has fallen behind “Face the Nation” on CBS, it remains the number one Sunday public affairs show for the full-hour.

Gregory also talks about following the footsteps of Tim Russert:

“I’m not Tim,” Gregory told viewers when his “Meet the Press” appointment was announced. “But I can just work real hard to make him proud.”

Notable for his prematurely silver hair (readily evident to viewers) and his 6-foot-5 frame (undetectable on TV, since he’s seated), Gregory has brought a crispness and amped-up pace to the broadcast.

“I want people to see that he’s going to be tough,” says Gregory, lapsing into the third person, “that he’s going to force some accountability — but he’s also going to try to engage (his subjects) in a conversation and draw them out.