“I leave NBC as I came — humbled and grateful. I love journalism and serving as moderator of Meet the Press was the highest honor there is. I have great respect for my colleagues at NBC News and wish them all well. To the viewers, I say thank you,” Mr. Gregory said in a pair of tweets filed shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday.
That was that. Journalists puzzled. Had he resigned, or was his job terminated? NBC had been previously criticized by several media analysts and pundits for leaving Mr. Gregory “twisting in the wind”, as one put it recently.
CNN, however, had already announced his imminent departure in an earlier report indicating that Mr. Gregory would be gone by Sunday; Politico chimed in with revelations he would be replaced by Chuck Todd, current host of MSNBC’s Daily Rundown.”
MSNBC, in turn, alluded to the change in an on-camera scroll.
The mainstream media, however, had speculated about the possibility for days, noting that ratings on the nation’s oldest public affairs show had dropped by double digits since Mr. Gregory took over in 2008 for the late Tim Russert. Critics often cited Mr. Gregory’s seeming lack of engagement with viewers, though much of his on-camera style was derived from years as a White House reporter, firing questions at one press secretary after another.
Still, it remains a close race between the three programs, and in a pivotal election year. The most recent Nielsen ratings place CBS’s “Face the Nation,” in first place with 2.9 million viewers, ABC’s “This Week” with 2.5 million, “Meet the Press” with 2.1 million and “Fox News Sunday” with 1.2 million.
It get complicated, though. With cable re-broadcasts on Fox News, “Fox News Sunday” ultimately reaches 2 million viewers.