11:16am PT by Marisa Guthrie
NBC News Mum on David Gregory's 'Meet the Press' Future
It's no secret among NBC News insiders that political director Chuck Todd, who also hosts The Daily Rundown on MSNBC, would like a shot at the Meet the Press anchor chair. With ratings for Meet the Press sinking double digits since David Gregory took over in 2008, speculation has swirled that NBC News executives would not wait much longer to make a change. And this morning, out popped the latest blog post predicting Gregory's demise. Politico's Mike Allen — citing “political sources” — declared that Todd's ascension to the seat would be “announced in the coming weeks.”
NBC News had no comment on the post, which was widely aggregated. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that neither Gregory nor Todd has had conversations with NBC News executives about their respective futures at the company. The network's non-denial of the story stands in contrast to NBC News president Deborah Turness' declaration of support for Gregory back in April after the Washington Post published a report detailing a brand study the network had undertaken — before Turness arrived at NBC News in August of 2013 — that included having a psychologist interview his friends and wife. NBC News denied that Gregory or those close to him had been questioned by a psychologist.
"NBC News is proud to have David in the important anchor chair of Meet the Press,” Turness wrote in an internal memo April 24. "He is passionate about politics, and is committed to getting answers for our viewers on the issues that matter to them the most."
There was a less strenuous rebuttal of a Page Six item last July that claimed NBC News would make the change after the mid-term elections in November.
NBC News senior vp Alexandra Wallace, who has oversight of Meet the Press, told THR in June that the network was optimistic about some of the changes at the 69-year-old program including shorter segments, a more robust digital footprint and a concerted effort to showcase voices from beyond the insular world of Washington political circles. And she noted that the Sunday public affairs shows overall, which are not profit drivers at the news divisions but do confer status and credibility especially during high political seasons, are all working to adapt to the fractured media landscape.
"Obviously we want to win," Wallace told THR. "We see the numbers, too. But I think the whole daypart, the whole genre, is going through a reinvention right now."
But with the mid-terms looming and the political season sure to launch into overdrive with a presumed Hillary Clinton campaign, the clock is ticking on the network's succession plan — if there is one.