Out of respect for Tim Russert’s family and friends, NBC officials aren’t hinting at who they’re considering to host Meet the Press, the leading public affairs show that Russert hosted since 1991, after his sudden death last Friday.
Yet speculation abounds among media critics and reporters. Check out the roundup on the next page:
- Los Angeles Times staff writer Scott Collins picks three NBC insiders as probable successors, former White House correspondent David Gregory, Hardball host Chris Matthews, and former Republican congressman and Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough. Collins considers it “less likely” that NBC will try to poach CBS anchor Katie Couric or ABC This Week host George Stephanopoulos. Collins calls it a “long shot” NBC management would consider Countdown host Keith Olbermann because of his well-known political leanings.
- MarketWatch’s Jon Friedman selects Gregory as the most worthy choice, and says Matthews “would be a horrendous selection” because of his “wild opinions” and “confrontational nature.”
- Analyst Andrew Tyndall tells Politico’s Michael Calderone NBC will choose from within, possibly Gregory, Matthews, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, or political director Chuck Todd. He calls Scarborough and former Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw “dark horse candidates.”
- The New York Times’ Bill Carter and Jacques Steinberg, who point out that NBC will also have to replace Russert in his capacity as Washington bureau chief, mention Gregory, Mitchell, Couric, Matthews, Scarborough, and Olbermann, as well as Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, who could do double duty in the mold of CBS’ Bob Schieffer, who hosted the CBS Evening News and Face the Nation prior to Couric’s arrival at the network. Carter and Steinberg report that NBC could offer the position to Brokaw on a temporary basis, or turn to Gwen Ifill of PBS.