David Gregory Named Moderator of Meet the Press

By Chris Ariens 

After a week of speculation, NBC’s Tom Brokaw made it official this morning — David Gregory will become the next moderator of Meet the Press, the longest running show on television.

Gregory joined Brokaw at the end of the broadcast for the announcement. After telling viewers he’d be moving on, Brokaw said, “And to introduce the new moderator of ‘Meet the Press,’ another great friend and cherished colleague, David Gregory who is here with us this morning.” Gregory:

Well, thank you, Tom, this is an incredible honor also to have it come from you because of what you have meant to me in the course of my career and the course of my life. I know how [executive producer] Betsy [Fischer] and I and the staff feel so grateful to you for everything you have brought to the program in such a difficult time after Tim died…You nurtured me in this business. Tim did. And I was in a unique place where I got to see the two very best in journalism up close. I tried to learn a lot and I’ve thought a lot about what it means to succeed somebody like Tim Russert.

And I’m not Tim. But, along with this great team, I can just work real hard to make him proud.

Gregory follows in the footsteps of Martha Rountree, Lawrence Spivak, Roger Mudd, Marvin Kalb, Chris Wallace and, of course, the longest-serving moderator Tim Russert, who died of a heart attack in June at the age of 58.

Meet the Press began on the radio in 1945 and moved to television in 1947. TVNewser was on hand as the show celebrated its 60th anniversary at the Newseum last November.

The NBC News press release, which includes news about EP Betsy Fischer, is after the jump…


Betsy Fischer Extends Distinguished Tenure as Executive Producer

(New York) – December 7, 2008 – David Gregory has been named moderator of NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” effective immediately. In addition, Betsy Fischer, the program’s longtime executive producer has extended her tenure with the top-rated broadcast. The announcements were made today by Steve Capus, President of NBC News.

“For 61 years, this program has played a vital role in our nation’s political discourse and millions of Americans’ Sunday mornings,” said Capus. “We lost a legend this summer, and today we hand the program over to someone who has a true appreciation and respect for the ‘Meet the Press’ legacy, and a keen sense of what it needs to be in the future. David and Betsy are first-rate and I’m thrilled to have them in their roles at a key time in the program’s, and the country’s, history. I’d also like to thank Tom Brokaw, whose tremendous dedication has helped to lead ‘Meet the Press’ through this critical transition and extraordinary election season. He did so out of honor and respect for our friend Tim Russert, and we’ll always be grateful.”

“I’m honored and deeply humbled as I take on this role,” said Gregory. “I’m filled with a great sense of purpose as I join a superb team to cover Washington and the world from a treasured platform in our country. Above all, I want to make Tim proud.”

“It’s an exciting next chapter in the long history of ‘Meet the Press’ and I, along with the rest of the staff, am eagerly looking forward to this new era.” said Fischer. “Tim so often said one of the most important things for a good journalist to do is be prepared — and there is no doubt that David is prepared for this. Not only is he a huge talent, but his tremendous knowledge of Washington and his persistence for truth and accountability make him a natural fit to uphold the strong ideals of ‘Meet the Press.'”

“Meet the Press” has been the top-rated Sunday morning public affairs show for nearly 11 consecutive years. It’s the longest-running program ever on network television, premiering on NBC-TV on November 6, 1947. The show made its initial debut two years earlier ? as a radio program with Martha Rountree and Lawrence Spivak as producers. Gregory is only the tenth person ever to be a permanent host of the program. He follows veteran NBC Newsman Tom Brokaw who served as interim moderator after the untimely death of Tim Russert on June 13, 2008.

In addition to his “Meet the Press” responsibilities, Gregory will be a regular contributor for “Today” and will continue to serve as a back-up anchor for the broadcast. He will also continue as a regular contributor and analyst on MSNBC, and lend his voice and reporting to all NBC News broadcasts including coverage of special events.

Gregory first joined NBC News in 1995. He served as White House Correspondent during the presidency of George W. Bush, reporting extensively on the 9-11 attacks as well as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Gregory has also covered three presidential campaigns in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

Earning a reputation for being one of the toughest questioners of President Bush and his press secretaries, Washingtonian magazine named Gregory one of Washington’s 50 best and most influential journalists, labeling him the “firebrand in the front row.”

On the campaign trail in 2004, and during his years covering the White House Gregory was among the most heavily utilized network correspondent on television, according to the Tyndall Report.

Beyond politics, he has covered nearly every major story for the network: from the O.J. Simpson trials, to the trial of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, to the impeachment of President Clinton, and the death of Pope John Paul II.

Previously, Gregory worked as an NBC News correspondent based in Los Angeles and Chicago. He began his journalism career at the age of 18 as a summer reporter for KGUN-TV in Tucson, Arizona. Gregory also worked for NBC’s flagship West Coast affiliate KCRA-TV in Sacramento.

A native of Los Angeles, he graduated from American University in Washington, D.C. with a bachelor’s degree in International Studies. In 2005, Gregory was named the School of International Service’s alumnus of the year and now sits on the Dean’s advisory council.

Gregory lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Beth Wilkinson, an attorney, and their three children.

Betsy Fischer has been with “Meet the Press” for 17 years and has served as Executive Producer of the program since July 2002. Additionally, she served as Tom Brokaw’s producer for NBC News’ coverage of the 2008 Presidential Election, including the conventions, debates, and election night. Fischer served with Tim Russert in the same capacity during NBC’s coverage of Special Events, and throughout the 2000, 2004 and 2008 elections.

She has produced interviews with U.S. Presidents, key Cabinet officials, heads of state and every 2004 and 2008 presidential candidate. Fischer also created and produced an award winning series of special “Meet the Press” debates with the candidates from key 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008 U.S. Senate races.

Prior to being named to Executive Producer, Fischer was the Senior Producer of “Meet the Press” and the NBC News Political/Polling Unit for five years. Her career at NBC News began with an internship at “Meet the Press” while in college and she became the political researcher in 1992 for the program. Fischer was promoted to Associate Producer in 1995, and a Producer in 1997.

She has recently been awarded the honor of “Young Global Leader of the World 2008” by The World Economic Forum which recognizes 250 global young leaders for their professional accomplishments, their commitment to society and their potential to contribute to the shaping of the future world.

A native of New Orleans, Fischer did her undergraduate and graduate work at American University in Washington, DC. She is a Cum Laude graduate of their School of Public Affairs and earned a M.A. degree in Broadcast Journalism from the AU School of Communications.