Steve Burke breaks bread with his (soon-to-be) new NBC News employees

By Chris Ariens 

NBC News and MSNBC anchors filled New York City’s Gotham Hall this afternoon for the annual upfront presentation — a luncheon put on by the NBC News sales team to entice advertisers and agencies to keep NBC News and MSNBC top of mind when they are spending ad dollars. NBC News president Steve Capus ran through the networks, the shows and the Websites in the news portfolio, and reminded the room of NBC’s no. 1 position for many of them: “Today,” “Nightly News,” “Meet the Press,” the growth of MSNBC on cable, and as the web’s no. 1 source for news video, (thanks to

Steve Burke, who will be the president of NBCU when the Comcast deal is closed late next week, sat next to Capus during the lunch. “Meet the Press” moderator David Gregory sat on the other side of Burke. The current president of the network, Jeff Zucker, was not in attendance. Matt Lauer emceed the event and Brian Williams joined by videotape from Texas where he sat down with Pres. George H.W. Bush and members of his foreign policy team for an interview today.

Before the lunch we asked MSNBC’s Chris Matthews where he was 50 years ago today — the day John F. Kennedy was inaugurated. “I was in my mother’s basement, she was ironing the clothes, and we were watching the inauguration on TV,” said the “Hardball” host. “And I never asked her who she voted for. We were Irish, Catholic and Republican,” said Matthews.


Later, Andrea Mitchell shared with us what she was doing 30 years ago today: the day Ronald Reagan was sworn in to office and 52 U.S. hostages in Iran were released. “We were on the air all day, said the veteran NBC News reporter and MSNBC anchor, “I covered the inauguration and parade, and then went to Wiesbaden (USAF Hospital in Germany) where Jimmy Carter greeted the hostages.”

While most of the MSNBC anchors were here: including Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski in the morning to “The Last Word”‘s Lawrence O’Donnell, with Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie in between — the network’s biggest star Keith Olbermann was not in attendance.