Remembering Russert: The Week That Was

By SteveK 

Around this time last Friday the TV world was still trying to take in the news of the sudden and shocking death of Tim Russert. After a week of tributes, memorials and some controversies, we wanted to give you a look back at how the story developed, through these stories on TVNewser:

• NBC first reported the news at 3:39pmET as Tom Brokaw anchored a special report on NBC and MSNBC. CNN and FNC reported the news after the initial NBC report. ABC and CBS broke into affiliate programming to report the news.

• Tributes began pouring in immediately, and continued through the weekend. From those at NBC: Jeff Zucker, Steve Capus, Jeff Immelt, Chris Matthews, Bob Wright, Matt Lauer, Dick Ebersol, David Shuster.

To others in the industry: David Westin, George Stephanopoulos, Dan Rather, Bob Schieffer, Roger Ailes, Charlie Gibson, Diane Sawyer, Cokie Roberts, Sean McManus, Barbara Walters, Maria Shriver, Judy Woodruff, Katie Couric, Campbell Brown, David Bohrman, Rick Sanchez, Bill O’Reilly.

And everyone else (well, not everyone): President Bush, Sens. McCain and Obama, Leno and Conan, Wilbon and Kornheiser.

• Friday night saw extensive coverage and specials from NBC and MSNBC, but also CNN and Fox News. On Saturday, NBC News aired a special edition of the Today show and devoted Saturday’s MSNBC programming to Russert.

• A bit of a controversy brewed into the weekend, about the first reports of Russert’s death and the role of Wikipedia in delivering the information (perhaps before Russert’s family could be notified).

• On Sunday, NBC left the Meet the Press moderator chair empty, as Tom Brokaw led a panel all about Russert. The other Sunday shows paid tribute as well.

• Luke Russert had a moving interview with Matt Lauer on Monday’s Today show.

• Some in the media began to question the amount of coverage. Richard Wolffe thought it was what “Tim would want.”

• Russert’s funeral was Wednesday morning and his memorial service, at the Kennedy Center, was televised on MSNBC in the afternoon. All the evening news anchors were there, as were 1,000 other invited guests and millions more watched on TV.

• Inevitably, people started asking, “What’s next for Meet the Press?” TVNewser readers thought Chuck Todd was the right choice (and had hundreds of other suggestions). Although Tom Brokaw joked about “those who think that they should be his successor,” NBC News president Steve Capus thought all the talk was “inappropriate”. Did Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann talk about wanting the job? Absolutely not, they say.

• Brian Williams will moderate this weekend, and the show remain “Meet the Press, with Tim Russert.”

Click continued to see Bruce Springsteen’s tribute to Russert, an acoustic version of “Thunder Road,” played during Wednesday’s memorial service…