News units transition, too


With the election settled, networks are turning to the interregnum, with all eyes on what will happen in Washington during the transition and on who will land such plum TV assignments as moderator on NBC's "Meet the Press" moderator and White House correspondent.

In TV news, it's common for key jobs to turn over with a new administration. With all the attention on the problems facing the country and President-elect Barack Obama's administration, that's where the big stories are and where top journalists want to be.

"You'll have a whole new group of people coming in, not only for the new administration but a new Congress," CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer said. "Everybody is going to be jockeying for power, and people who did a real good job on the campaign will be rewarded with top beats."

Speculation about who will become moderator of NBC's "Meet the Press" is about to go into overdrive. Tim Russert's death in June left a hole that's hard to fill at NBC; former anchor Tom Brokaw has stepped in temporarily.

Among the names being bandied about: NBC News political director Chuck Todd, NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell and PBS' Gwen Ifil. The Peacock is thought to now favor a panel approach for Sunday's top-rated news show.

Schieffer confirmed Wednesday that he is plotting his exit from "Face the Nation," where he has been moderator since 1991. Already, at the request of news president Sean McManus, Schieffer is staying on through 2009, though he was planning to retire earlier.

"I plan to do it for a while, but we'll be looking for somebody to do it after that," Schieffer said. "In the next year or two, I'm going to want to step back." (partialdiff)