NBC hired a psychologist to try to boost David Gregory's ratings
This is pretty bizarre. NBC News brought in a "psychological consultant" to talk to David Gregory's friends, his co-workers - even his wife - "to get perspective and insight from people who know him best.”
The venerable "Meet the Press" has gone from first place to thrid in the Sunday morning news show sweepstakes over the last 4 years and NBC must be pretty desperate to find out why.
Thus, “MTP’s” meltdown has sounded alarm bells inside NBC News and attracted the attention of its new president, Deborah Turness, who arrived from Britain’s ITV News in August. Gregory’s job does not appear to be in any immediate jeopardy, but there are plenty of signs of concern.
Last year, the network undertook an unusual assessment of the 43-year-old journalist, commissioning a psychological consultant to interview his friends and even his wife. The idea, according to a network spokeswoman, Meghan Pianta, was “to get perspective and insight from people who know him best.” But the research project struck some at NBC as odd, given that Gregory has been employed there for nearly 20 years.
Around the same time, the network appointed a new executive producer at “MTP,” Rob Yarin, a veteran media consultant. Yarin, who had worked with Gregory on an MSNBC show, “Race for the White House,” during the 2008 campaign, succeeded Betsy Fischer Martin, who reigned over “MTP” for 11 years. Fischer Martin had helped Russert soar to glory, but had disagreed with Gregory over matters of style and substance (she was promoted to oversee all of NBC’s political coverage).
In interviews, Yarin and Gregory say they are tinkering with the show to keep it abreast of a changing media environment. They’ve made the program’s pacing faster, with shorter interview segments. The range of topics and interview subjects has been opened up, too. Last month, for example, Gregory interviewed NCAA President Mark Emmert about proposals to unionize student-athletes — stealing a little thunder, he notes, from CBS, which was televising the NCAA basketball tournament at the time.
I could have saved NBC a ton of money if they had only asked me what the problem was with MTP; David Gregory is dreadfully boring and one of the most biased reporters on TV. If you're going to have a Democratic operative host the longest running television show in history, hire a real one. I'm sure Debbie Wasserman Schultz would love the gig.