LAT: NBC executives are closing in on a decision about who will take over "Meet the Press," its venerable Sunday morning political talk show, with the announcement coming possibly on Dec. 7.Luke Russert talks to the Buffalo News:
According to network sources, that may be Tom Brokaw's last day on the air as interim moderator of the program, a post he assumed after the sudden death of longtime host Tim Russert in June.
People close to the process said that they did not yet know who would be ultimately named to the job, arguably Washington's most powerful journalistic perch. The deliberations have been closely guarded by NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker and NBC News President Steve Capus, who have not yet made a decision, said spokeswoman Allison Gollust.
Barring a last-minute surprise, network insiders and television news observers expect the new moderator -- or moderators -- will be drawn from a short list of candidates that include NBC chief White House correspondent David Gregory, PBS anchor Gwen Ifill, NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell and NBC political director Chuck Todd. Dark horses include CBS anchor Katie Couric, whose name was floated in internal discussions, according to two sources, but is apparently not interested.
Veteran ABC anchor Ted Koppel has also been mentioned as a contender. But Koppel, who announced Tuesday that he was leaving his post at Discovery Channel, said he had not spoken with NBC and had little interest in getting into "a weekly grind again."
“Some children of famous people have real difficulty because they feel they have to live up to expectations,” he said. “I just try to live up to my own, which are very high. I’ve often said I can be one-eighth of the man who my father was and would have accomplished a great lot. So I’m really not worried about trying to outdo him, trying to be better than him. I’m very comfortable just being me.”
He appreciates the opportunity that NBC News gave him to be its youth reporter after he was so impressive during TV interviews following his father’s death.
“NBC took a lot of criticism for hiring me, saying that was just straight nepotism,” Russert said. “But they put me in the position to be successful, and I’m eternally grateful.”
Russert may follow the youth vote this weekend to Chippewa Street. “It is refreshing to pay those Buffalo beer prices when you live in Washington and spend a lot of time in New York and Boston,” he said. “You can actually get a beer for less than $7.”