- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 3, 2008

‘Press’ for Gregory?

NBC News denied Monday night that it was close to naming chief White House correspondent David Gregory as moderator of “Meet the Press,” MediaWeek.com reports.

The Huffington Post reported Mr. Gregory would get the job.

“We have no announcement to make, and we are not making an announcement tomorrow,” an NBC News spokeswoman said Monday night.

The decision on the permanent replacement for the late Tim Russert is expected sometime this week, possibly on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.”

Former “NBC Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw has been filling in as moderator since Mr. Russert’s death in June.

Mr. Gregory joined NBC News in 1995. Well-known for his battles with White House press secretaries in the Bush administration, Mr. Gregory has covered just about every major news story of the past 13 years and has subbed on “Today” and the weekend “Nightly News.” He also served as a substitute “Meet the Press” moderator during the Russert era.

NBC also was reported to be considering NBC political director Chuck Todd, veteran correspondent Andrea Mitchell and PBS’ Gwen Ifill, among others. There also is the possibility that there could be a rotating moderator, or the network might bring back its panelist format, MediaWeek says.

“Meet the Press” is the acknowledged leader among the Sunday public-affairs shows, MediaWeek notes. Under Mr. Brokaw, it remained the most-watched and top-rated of the shows by a comfortable margin during the just-ended November sweeps.

MTV scores with Brit

For the record — Britney Spears’ MTV special did pretty well Sunday night.

“Britney: For the Record” averaged 3.7 million total viewers at 10 p.m., the Hollywood Reporter says.

The documentary, part of Miss Spears’ career relaunch, provided insight into the pop princess’s rough past few years.

Short takes

• Five more episodes are in the works for CBS’ “Eleventh Hour,” bringing the season order to 18, TVWeek.com reports. The show, which attracts an average 12 million viewers per episode, is bolstered by a “CSI” lead-in on Thursdays but loses a sizable cut of the audience through the end of the show. Based on the British series of the same name, “Hour” follows government scientist Dr. Jacob Hood (Rufus Sewell of “The Illusionist”) and his FBI partner Rachel Young (Marley Shelton) as they try to stop scientific experiments gone bad.

• Courtney B. Vance and Jack Davenport are the first actors cast in ABC’s hot drama pilot “Flash Forward,” rumored to be a potential companion to “Lost.” Based on Robert J. Sawyer’s sci-fi novel, “Flash Forward” chronicles the chaos that ensues after everyone in the world blacks out for two minutes and 17 seconds and has a mysterious vision of the future that changes lives forever.

• NBC’s attempt to revive the variety-show genre hit a serious snag last week with Rosie O’Donnell’s “Rosie Live” drawing a small audience on Thanksgiving Eve. According to Variety, preliminary Nielsen Media Research estimates show that the special - featuring celebrity guests Alec Baldwin, Harry Connick Jr. and Liza Minnelli in musical acts and comedy skits - attracted just 5 million viewers. “There will be no more,” Miss O’Donnell wrote on her blog. “No ratings. Bad reviews.”

Holiday watch

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (8 p.m., CBS) — Based on the familiar holiday tune, a misfit reindeer and his friends look for a place that will accept them. Burl Ives voices the role of Sam the Snowman, the narrator of this stop-motion tale from 1964.

• Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports

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