The Huffington Post reported David Gregory will take over for Tim Russert as permanent moderator of Meet The Press after beating out finalists Andrea Mitchell, Gwen Ifill and Chuck Todd. NBC told Politico, "I don't know where they are getting this," and Gregory's agent would neither confirm nor deny to the Observer. Dark-horse candidate Katie Couric is reportedly not interested. Odd that NBC News would leak to HuffPo, given the network division's apparent long-running feud with publisher Arianna Huffington, but then there have been signs that the bad feelings have perhaps been dropped.
♦ CBS is expected to win November sweeps for the eighth straight year. [AP]
♦ Another victim of the recession: publishing industry lunches. [NYO]
♦ The Super Bowl isn't looking up for NBC. Sales of 30-second ads have slowed and there are rumors some companies are now asking for discounts. [AP]
♦ In an attempt to ride Barack Obama's coattails to relevancy, MTV is planning a "Rock 'N Roll Inaugural Ball" for January 20. [AdAge]
♦ Life & Style is on life support and is laying off staff. [NYP]
♦ Contenders to take over Meet the Press include David Gregory, Gwen Ifill, Andrea Mitchell, and NBC political director Chuck Todd. The news may be announced December 7th. [LAT]
Tom Brokaw was determined last night that he wasn't going to put up with any crap from presidential candidates or their running mates, who had their way with previous debate moderators Jim Lehrer and Gwen Ifill. So every time John McCain or Barack Obama broke one of the debate rules, Brokaw delivered a verbal slap. The NBC News commentator got increasingly frustrated with infractions as the night wore on, but both candidates seemed to be on their best behavior yet, even when Brokaw rather oddly insisted they yield a heated moment to a question from the entire internet.
Appearing in the flesh on Saturday Night Live is a time-honored ritual for many political names, including the three biggest of this past election cycle: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have both put in cold opening cameos, while John McCain actually hosted SNL in 2002. Still, for all the mileage that the show has wrung out of Sarah Palin's vice presidential candidacy, Palin herself has yet to appear on the show — though according to the Chicago Sun Times, that may change very soon. In fact, sources in the McCain camp say that they have a very specific idea in mind to help Palin avenge herself upon the fired, lifeless body of her nemesis, Tina Fey:
With less than a month left to go in this presidential election, Saturday Night Live expands its resurgent political brand into special Thursday episodes starting this week, though it's hard to see how they could possibly outdo the trilogy of Tina Fey-as-Sarah Palin appearances that continued into last night's episode. Spoofing the mega-rated vice presidential debate, Fey joined Jason Sudeikis as Joe Biden and the previously-rumored Queen Latifah as moderator Gwen Ifill for a blockbuster, near-twelve minute sketch that left no participant unscathed. Still, despite the skit's jabs at Biden and Ifill, this was, as ever, Fey's moment, and she delivered her most cutting performance yet. Do we have video of the sketch after the jump? Doggone it, you betcha:
PBS anchor Gwen Ifill has been a pundit for decades, but she shrewdly avoided controversy until the 2004 presidential campaign, when she moderated the vice presidential debate between Dick Cheney and John Edwards. Remember that? At first you maybe thought, "How nice, that America has found a black woman it deems sufficiently sedated to moderate a big debate!" But then she slipped. Edwards brought up Cheney's old company Halliburton's multibillion profiteering in the Iraq, and Dick Cheney told her he would need more than the allotted 30 seconds to respond, and Ifill told him, "That's all you've got" to audience laughter, and that exposed her deep boiling black rage. Well, somehow the Attention Deficit Democracy allowed this bitter partisan to come back to moderate another VP debate. And big surprise: it turns out she is completely in the tank for Obama.She's been writing a secret book about him! Well, not just him. It's called The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama and it's about "emerging young African American politicians forging a bold new path to political power." And by "secret" I mean "to no one who read the AP story about it weeks before the McCain campaign approved Ifill as a moderator", and by "bold" they of course mean "actually the total opposite of" because that phrase is code for "emerging young African American politicians who somehow manage not to scare white people." One can only imagine Ifill, as the embodiment of PBS's quiet, sober, studiously inoffensive approach to covering the news, finds this topic personally interesting, because as a black woman she actually has to be significantly more boring than boring Washington establishment white guy pundits like Tom Brokaw or the late Tim Russert to prove that she does not have a chip on her shoulder or a loose cannon or anything remotely suggestive of an overly keen belief that slavery was wrong, and politicians can't be boring all the time. But whatever: now she's been exposed. Writing a book about a politician is practically the same as being on that politician's payroll, just ask Jerome Corsi. Is the McCain campaign trying to turn the obvious "shoot the moderator" tactics it just pulled on Katie Couric into a full-blown strategy? If so, as Media Matters points out, it's got some holes, not least because recent years have seen debates moderated by the likes of Bob Schieffer, a close personal friend of George W. Bush whose brother was a business partner of Bush's before the Supreme Court voted him president. Also, Tom Brokaw loves John McCain. But at the end of the day, would either of those guys make Sarah Palin sound any readier to navigate the collapse of our banking system or any number of our fragile Middle Eastern frenemy states? Yeah: no.
Vice Presidential debate moderator Gwen Ifill broke her ankle last night, TVNewser learned. She says she tripped, at home, by herself, down the stairs. Suspicious! Especially because CBS keeps slowly leaking more clips of Sarah Palin babbling nonsense while Katie just stares coldly (but warmly! it's weird) (see attached). Meanwhile, the AP says John McCain has a 1 in 4 chance of dying before the end of his second term (or, to put it another way, "McCain has a health expectancy of 8.4 years). They asked some actuaries. This went out on the wires to everyone, it will probably upset the GOP. Now you are informed about the newest in useless minutia.
Aging radio personality Don Imus received a two week suspension yesterday and compounded the damage done by his "nappy hos" remark in an awesome appearance on Al Sharpton's radio program; Sharpton hammered him for the first 90 minutes and then Imus seemed to refer to blacks as "you people" and attempted to use the word "jive." "NewsHour" correspondent Gwen Ifill, who has waited nine years to exact her revenge against the man who once called her "the cleaning lady," gets her chance this morning in the Times and does so in exquisite fashion. We're of the opinion that there'll be a continued hemming and hawing over the whole thing for a few more days and then it will be forgotten, as it always is, because, you know, he may be a bigot, but an appearance on his show does help to sell your book, and, really, isn't that what matters? Still it's all been worth it, if only for this AP photo, which we're going to have framed.