Gregory in hot seat for new 'Press' era


David Gregory has inherited the longest-running program on television as well as a position of power at "Meet the Press."

It's something the late Tim Russert, who was moderator from 1991 until his death in June, knew well: "Meet the Press" is the place for politicians to make their name, try to rebuild their reputations or undergo a trial by fire. It was also, and remains, the highest-rated Sunday public-affairs program.

It's a legacy Gregory respects and wants to continue.

"The mission is very much the same, holding our leaders accountable and being a treasured platform to do that," he said Sunday, hours after NBC News signed him to a multiyear contract to moderate "Press." "I'm humbled to be in the role that I'm going to."

Gregory will have help with the experience of longtime executive producer Betsy Fischer, who NBC News also re-upped to remain with the program.

"Press" averaged 4.5 million viewers in November, compared with 3.5 million for ABC's "This Week," 3.1 million for CBS' "Face the Nation" and 1.5 million for "Fox News Sunday." It's the best viewership for the November sweep since 2004. (partialdiff)