David Gregory is captain of a sinking ship:
It’s no secret that NBC’s “Meet The Press” has been in bad shape of late. Indeed, the show has been on the decline since David Gregory took over in 2008. But the most recent numbers are especially troubling.
In the fourth quarter of 2013, “Meet” came in third place for total viewers behind CBS’s “Face The Nation” and ABC’s “This Week” for the first time since the third quarter of 1992. (Though keep in mind that ‘Face’ only rates for the first half-hour, which skews the numbers a bit.)
But it gets worse: The 2013 fourth-quarter figures mark the lowest total viewers “Meet” has had in a fourth quarter since 1991. And among viewers ages 25 to 54, last quarter marked the lowest ratings in the show’s entire history.
The show is completely different without Tim Russert, who challenged his guests — “guests” seems like the wrong word — with questions, often built on a series of quotes — displayed on screen — that would box them in painfully. We at home enjoyed the tension and pain. Gregory expects us to look on as the respected elite of Washington are made comfortable while they deliver the speeches they arrived with. And Gregory plays favorites, shoring up liberal commentators when they seem to be stumbling, supplying arguments and glossing over rough spots for them. Russert would go in for the kill.
Ann missed what I’ve found to be Gregory’s most glaring weakness as a “tough” interviewer. He will sometimes ask what is supposed to sound like a tough question, only really it’s just a Gotcha! question. And then there would be no follow-up. None. Zilch.
It’s as though his tougher questions weren’t designed to elicit difficult truths from his guests, but rather to demonstrate how very clever David Gregory could be.
That’s not good TV. That’s just tiresome.