NBC’s Farewell to David Gregory Was Less than Dazzling

by Patrick Brennan

“As you may be aware, David Gregory’s final show as moderator of Meet the Press was last Sunday,” NBC’s Andrea Mitchell told viewers this Sunday. Gregory’s departure from NBC wasn’t marked or mentioned during Gregory’s final show last Sunday — it was leaked a couple weeks ago, and then made official just this past Thursday.

So Gregory was made to bid farewell to Meet the Press’s dwindling audience in absentia, with a retrospective. “Meet the Press makes a lot of history, Mitchell said, “and a great deal of it was with David at the helm, since he started in December of 2008.”

That may depend on your definition of “history” and “a great deal”: Mitchell noted that Gregory once got Joe Biden to say something irresponsible and unexpected (that he supported gay marriage, a couple months before the Obama campaign was likely to announce the same thing). The two other meager highlights NBC offered: the fact that Gregory moderated a Sunday-morning Republican-primary debate on the show in 2012, and had a “landmark interview” with General David Petraeus in 2010 after Petraeus had been made commander of international forces in Afghanistan. (NBC does indeed seem to be the first network to land an interview with Petraeus after he was promoted.)

Mitchell’s tribute to Gregory concluded with her reading out tweets he sent out this week after his removal was announced and saying that while he’ll no longer be a “daily colleague,” he’ll always be a friend. (The Gregory tribute didn’t close the program; it was followed by a commercial break and then a Robin Williams tribute.)

Gregory is going to be replaced with Chuck Todd, NBC’s political director, who, it’s hoped, will be able to boost the program’s popularity. Meet the Press had been a far and away leader in the Sunday-show ratings for years, but its ratings declined steadily under Gregory, eventually falling behind those of CBS’s Face the Nation and ABC’s This Week.

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