Monday, June 16, 2008

Sunday is going to come whether we like it or not

You've heard it, we've heard it - The macabre murmur of necessary speculation on who will fill Tim Russert's chair. and National Review Online have already weighed in on the potential heirs as have multiple blogs with insightful, albeit biased, yet consistently respectful opinions on the next chapter of Meet The Press.

The reason that we've decided to chime in on this uncomfortable subject is because at last count by our editorial staff, Chuck is at the top of most lists. As you read their observations, you understand that Chuck is the visceral choice. He emulates the qualities that Russert did; a warm humility, disarming intelligence and a voracious appetite for all things sport and politic. On the flipside, the logical choice is David Gregory. Logical in the sense that he's a known quantity by having been a guest-moderator several times before and is a fixture of the NBC News Political team. But what echoes constantly when Gregory's name is brought up is his elite arrogance and cozy relationships he shares with key political figures sometimes skewing his objectivity.

Andrea Mitchell, Gwen Ifill and Chris Matthews (I know) have been suggested as well. Even Tom Brokaw is making the lists. The new talent such as Keith Olbermann (not new per se, but new to this level of serious consideration for political coverage) and David Shuster have been hinted at with the all usual right-wing pot shots reserved for Olbermann.

Many people have pointed out the similar backgrounds both Chuck and Russert shared. The humble roots, strong family ties and respect for the golden rule. Some of the more heart-wrenching moments on Friday were when people like Andrea Mitchell and Keith Olbermann introduced Chuck as essentially one of the best things that happened to the NBC news team in a long time and each one emphatically praised Russert for being the one responsible for bringing Chuck on.

Let's just put it out there and freely admit that this is hardly the repository for objective analysis on Chuck Todd and the NBC News Division. We all want the best for Chuck and Meet The Press. What we don't want is a hasty solution in the midst of this historic election that causes a truncated epilogue to the tragedy that was Friday.

That's why we want to hear from you. Knowing that the vast majority of us would want nothing more than to see Chuck ascend to this role - we also know that there will be some decisions made on grounds antithetical to emotion. With that said, vote in the poll below and leave comments on why Chuck should get the job or why he shouldn't. Perhaps the right people who have influence read Viva Chuck Todd. We certainly like to think Tim Russert did.


kashgar216 said...

I was going to suggest this topic last night to Viva Chuck, but I thought it was a bit premature and maybe in poor taste.

I think Gregory will probably get it, but I thought he was angling to replace Matthews when he leaves to run for the US Senate in PA.

I think NBC's justification for Chuck is that he's not quite ready for "prime time". It would be awesome if he were chosen, though.

Anonymous said...

It is a hard thing to discuss, but you know it has to be done and soon.

I really am not looking forward to the idea of Gregory. He's definitely not my cup of tea and I don't see him as the unbiased, deep thinking guy like Russert.

I would be fine with Mitchell or Chucky T, or a co-host situation with them. I think Russert is hard to replace adequately and Andrea and Chuck both have qualities that make them closer to Russert than anyone else.

I did notice that both Chuck and Gregory were MIA for most of the day, which makes me think they may have been in meetings with the head honchos. Then again, they may just be worn out from this long, long weekend and trying to figure out what to do now that the boss isn't there to guide the show.

I do wonder who Russert would want to carry on in his absence.

Anonymous said...

Although this is a hard thing to think about, however,it has to be done. I think Chuck Todd is the absolute best person for the job for many reasons. Chuck has so many things going for him, and attributes that do not go unnoticed. I also think that Tim Russert would have wanted Chuck to replace him. He saw so much talent in Chuck and he seemed to have taken him under his wing and "prep" him -so to speak. Chuck is up for the challenge and would make us all proud. I also think Chuck will do a wonderful job in keeping Tim's spirit alive on the show- mentioning him, trying to do things like him, and never let the audience forget the great man who started it all.

We shall see.......

Lenore said...

I agree - I noticed some of the wonderful things being said about Tim are also true of Chuck, more so than of anyone else. But I wonder if they'll use some kind of co-hosting or rotating arrangement for a while. Or bring in someone from outside of NBC. There are two jobs open: Whoever wants and doesn't get the hosting job may get the bureau chief job. Interestingly, I don't think I've ever seen Chuck interview someone except for a bit at the RBC hearing but I know he does so daily off-camera as part of his job. That said, like the rest of us at this site, I know he'd be great at this or anything else they ask him to do.

elaine b said...

I could definitely see Chuck going for Washington Bureau Chief, even if he didn't want the MTP spot. He would be fabulous in that position. Chucky T was in charge of the Hotline and grew it by huge proportions, so he is obviously a very good manager. As Bureau Chief, he would set the direction of things and influence a whole lot more than as political director.

I think the fairness I see in Chuck is the thing I am concerned about perpetuating the most, in whatever position he deems best for himself. Chuck is definitely cut from the same cloth as Russert.

I don't know about MTP, other than I really, really don't want Gregory in the spot. I would not like that at all. I also want someone with no evident bias other than a bias for the truth. MTP doesn't really seem like Chuck's style, although he seems up to any challenge put before him, so if he wants it, I say all power to The Chuck.

Man, I still can't believe we have to consider MTP without Russert. It's sad and unfair we have to have this discussion.

cs said...

i've been waiting for this discussion to come up. I think Chuck would be great and the most logical choice..

his demeanor and love for the RESEARCH are the right qualities..

MovieMom said...

OK, my 2 cents in having had numerous conversations over the last few days on the subject.

Let Brokaw take us through the remainder of the campaign season and do not hire a permanant replacement until After the new year.

I think considering a woman for the position is a good plan, a) there are good choices Andrea Mitchell and Gwen Ifil are certainly at the top of my list. b)it mutes the strong desire to play compare and contrast, at least to the extent it would for a man.

Finally, while I think eventually Chuck will get the call for the role on Meet the Press (for all the reasons pointed out here), I think if they tee him up for an immediate shift the one that makes the most sense to me is to serve as the Washington Bureau Chief.

OK, off to St. Albans to pay my respects.

Samuel said...

I think Chuck can do it. He's everywhere, he's on meet the press, countdown, hardball, and more... I think with that kind of support he can really blossom...
Also Chuck is good on the numbers, anyone who is good with numbers, is less likely to be bias, in all the things that they do. Gwen Ifill . Ilove her to death, I'm black and would like to see a black person run the show, but Chuck Todd is better, he would bring more young people in, he's a fun guy, he's a fresh face, he is what we want.
When Chuck was at the Rules and ByLaws committee meeting at the DNC and those people were in the background screaming all kinds of nonsense, he gave it to the camera live "this is Barack Obama's party now", I was worried about his safety....
Tim Russert is irreplaceable but he loved the youth, he loved humbleness, and he would love to see someone like Chuck Todd, take on Meet the Press.

Jan & Stu said...

I'm with moviemom about Brokaw for now. I LOVE Chuck Todd and think he could do it. The thing I see mssing is the same joie de vivre and twinkle in his eye that Tim had. I think perhaps with a little more experience and confidence he could be great for MTP. Still deeply mourning Tim!


Anonymous said...

Chuck is a natural for Washington Bureau Chief, which would be a transition to eventually taking over MTP.

The idea to have Brokaw finish out the election season is a good one. Chuck lives and breathes politics; this would be a good transition time for him to strengthen his policy creds before taking the moderator slot.

poe said...

Of all the choices you listed, I think Chuck T. would be the best, but I voted "other" because I think it would a difficult transition for the network, the show, and the viewers right in the middle of election season, and with the loss of Tim so fresh. Brokaw would be a good choice for interim moderator, but what I would really like to see instead is for MTP to go back to the old format of the show when three or four interviewers question the guest as a panel. To try to replace Russert with a sole moderator would be tough for anyone to live up to so soon, even Chuck.

Canby said...

First the choices...

Gregory... no. He's good as Matthews' replacement, but Russert's?

Schuster... no. A bit of a Chris Wallace clone.

Andrea Mitchell... Other than Brokaw, probably the most qualified. She would probably be my choice. Groundbreaking move, more than deserving of it, and fully capable of it in my opinion.

Our boy Chuck... not yet. He is an astounding political analyst and observer, as we all know, but I've never actually seen him do an interview or host a talk show along the lines of MTP or Hardball. In this one area (which unfortunately is the crux of Meet the Press), he needs seasoning. Having the facts in front of you and being able to use them AGAINST somebody are two vastly different things (which is what made Russert the institution he became).

Keith Olbermann... NO! I love Olbermann, but he's perfect where he is in the format he has. We'd be talking square peg into triangle hole if that ever occurs.

Tom Brokaw... As much as I respect Tom, dragging him out of semi-retirement, even for this purpose, does not serve the show well. It'd only be a stopgap and I honestly don't see it working.

Gwen Ifill... No pun intended I swear, but a dark horse candidate. One of the most respected people in the business, the question then becomes, 'Can she carry this show?'. I'm honestly not sure.

Chris Matthews... no. He's happy where he is, with what he's doing. Would it work... probably. I don't think it would flow as smoothly with him at the helm, but that's not to say it's not possible. (hmm... starting to come around on Chris... still no.)

Until next time
Vaya con Dios
Canby Ibarra

sportsjefe said...

canby from the previous message here... now i'm a blogger, so here's my hyperlink for e-mail (hope this works)

MovieMom said...

Just an observation as more than one person has spoken about Chuck's lack of 'on air interview' experience - Tim hadn't hosted a show or done much more 'on air' time than Chuck has before being tapped for MTP.

In saying that I do however stick to my original point, Bureau chief seems to be the important legacy fill that I think Chuck could be brilliant at.

Velrahjah said...

While I am a fan of Chuck Todd's, I'm not certain that he's ready. He's got an uncanny knack for numbers and prognostication, but as moderator of the Meet The Press....I don't know! Olbermann (whom I love) and Matthews are far too opinionated. Respectfully, Tom Brokaw is retired and rightfully so. Andrea Mitchell doesn't appear to be aggressive enough. Rachel Maddow (whom I ALSO love) is still in the grooming process over at MSNBC, so she's out. Gwen Ifill (another favorite) would be ideal but I think the honcho's at NBC are going to stay in-house. Plus, let's face it, she's a black woman! That might be too radical. I mean we've got Obama, that's enough, right?! (I'm black myself and being facetious! ) David Shuster, fresh of his suspension is obviously out of contention, so I'm going with David Gregory. Chuck Todd is the man, but is he really ready for Meet The Press? More importantly, we don't know that he's even interested.

Lenore said...

Whatever happens on air, I hope he's also able to continue editing First Read and writing articles for the MSNBC site. I love reading First Thoughts every day, which seems to be written mostly by him since it often parallels what he says on air those mornings that he's interviewed. And the writing style is stellar. It could be dry and boring in the hands or keyboards of others, but it's always witty and smart with Chuck and his crew.

Anonymous said...

MSNBC announced today that Brokaw will be heading up MTP until the election. This gives everyone a chance to take a breather and test drive a few people...