David Gregory didn’t get to say, “So long,” to Meet the Press viewers today — his bosses at NBC News gave him the heave-ho Thursday, effective immediately, after two decades at the division, because his Sunday Beltway show was not doing as well in the ratings as competitors at ABC and CBS. Minutes after Gregory tweeted that he was out, NBC News announced that he would be replaced by Chuck Todd in September.
“As you may be aware, David Gregory’s final show as moderator of Meet the Press was last Sunday,” Gregory fill-in Andrea Mitchell announced near the close of today’s broadcast, sounding like she was launching into an In Memoriam segment. We expected to see dates flash on screen.
“Meet the Press makes a lot of history, and a great deal of it was with David at the helm since he started in December, 2008,” Mitchell continued, as NBC’s tone-deaf handling of the situation unfolded to the show’s viewers.
Clips of news-making interviews followed, including the one in 2012 where Gregory got Vice President Joe Biden to publicly embrace gay marriage, making headlines everywhere and leading the way for President Obama to endorse same-sex marriage days later. In thanks for which, on Thursday, NBC News hustled Gregory out the door so as to not have him around this sleepy mid-August morning. This after dragging its feet for weeks, while dismissing press reports that Gregory was on the outs as “ludicrous” and “insulting.”
“Before taking the Meet the Press chair, David had a stellar eight years covering presidential politics at the White House for NBC News,” Mitchell continued to prattle.
“In 20 years with NBC News, David has done it all — the OJ Simpson trial, Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing, Today show guest-hosting and, when the cameras weren’t rolling, dead-on imitations of everyone from the President of the United States to Tom Brokaw. Through all the years, David has been true to the traditions of this program and NBC News,” she said of the man who was bounced out the door three days earlier like an argumentative drunk.
“On Thursday, David tweeted,” Mitchell noted, then read his classy tweets, which had ended with: “to the viewers, I say ‘thank you’.” Which Gregory was not allowed to say on NBC. Good thing Mitchell was around to say it for him.
“As David leaves NBC News for his next adventure, I will miss him as a daily colleague, but I know he will always be a friend,” she concluded, just to make sure viewers knew this wasn’t her idea.