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Former Meet the Press host David Gregory talks candidly in his new memoir, How’s Your Faith, about his messy ouster from NBC News last summer. On Wednesday, he also appeared on rival CBS, to talk about the episode.
Sitting in front of the giant CBS News eye logo, Gregory characterized the process as “difficult” during an interview with CBS This Morning‘s Norah O’Donnell, Gayle King and John Dickerson (the Face the Nation host was sitting in for Charlie Rose). But he noted that in the end the episode helped him to do some deep soul searching.
“Rather than get into all the nastiness of it, I just try to internalize what I take away from it,” he said, explaining that he realizes that if he were nicer to his colleagues, and communicated a better, “people would have been rooting for me a little bit more, both at NBC and the broader community. I think I was so consumed and self absorbed that I didn’t think enough about communicating with people.”
The result, he said, was that “people were not unhappy to see me get some comeuppance. I think I had to learn something from that.”
Gregory’s book chronicles his self examination via his spiritual journey to extract meaning and purpose from his Jewish faith. It is published by Simon & Schuster, which is a division of CBS Corp. Gregory noted, with some understatement, that “unpleasant things happen in TV news.”
His ouster, he said on CBS This Morning, his first TV interview since leaving NBC News, “was handled in a way that was unnecessary. NBC made a business decision, you can agree or disagree with it. It just didn’t need to be handled that way.”
Gregory, who was given the moderators chair on Meet the Press in late 2008 after the untimely death of Tim Russert, was the subject of incessant rumors last summer as the once top-rated MTP had tumbled to third place among Sunday morning public affairs shows. NBC News president Deborah Turness had publicly declared her support for Gregory. But leaks that he was out and Chuck Todd would get his job persisted. And last August, Gregory and his wife Beth were driving to New Hampshire to pick up his sons from camp when he got the call from NBC News confirming that he was out of a job, and he had already hosted his final show. He explains in the book that NBC executives were trying to avoid another “Ann Curry moment” — invoking the former Today show host’s infamous tearful live goodbye on the morning show in 2012.
“As much as I miss the work, I don’t miss NBC. I don’t miss being there,” added Gregory. “It was just the wrong atmosphere for me.”
Watch Gregory’s interview below:
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