Tags: Gregory | NBC | ratings | fate

David Gregory's Fate on Line in 'Meet the Press' Shake-up

Image: David Gregory's Fate on Line in 'Meet the Press' Shake-up

Tuesday, 24 Dec 2013 07:45 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

New NBC News boss Deborah Turness is planning to shake-up the staff at the troubled Sunday talk show "Meet the Press."

The British-born newswoman, who joined the network in August, has instructed employees to draw up a mission statement and explain in their opinions what the show needs to bring in more viewers," according to the New York Post.

As ratings have plunged, the fate of David Gregory, the political forum's host, is up in the air along with the entire Washington bureau, which reports on Washington for the show — as well as NBC's "Nightly News with Brian Williams."

William Morris Endeavor Entertainment agency chief Ari Emanuel — who inspired the character Ari Gold on the hit HBO drama "Entourage" — has been pushing for his clients Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, co-hosts of MSNBC’s "Morning Joe," to replace Gregory, the Post reported at the weekend.

An NBC spokesperson admitted on Friday that it had offered "a handful of voluntary buyouts in the DC bureau back in early November," added the Post. "Discussions are ongoing."

Then on Monday, it was revealed that Antoine Sanfuentes, the former Washington bureau chief for NBC News, is leaving the network.

Sanfuentes, whose last day will be January 20, said in an email to colleagues, "We are in the midst of a remarkable time in the news business that is revolutionizing how we are informed, but that still comes with a responsibility to be competitive and to get it right."

Sanfuentes and Turness apparently do not share the same vision on news, and his comments is being construed as a criticism of her more aggressive tabloid-style journalism.

Turness, who was a senior executive at the British broadcast news outlet ITN, has recently been alerted that former Bill Clinton adviser George Stephanopoulos' contract expires with ABC in January, and he could be up for grabs.

Although he's the current host of Sunday rival "This Week," he's better known as the co-host of "Good Morning America" and he's been credited with helping the morning show surpass NBC's Today in the ratings for the first time in 16 years.

"Meet the Press" has struggled since the sudden death of host Tim Russert in 2008, falling from leading the Sunday morning show ratings to third place behind "This Week" and CBS's "Face the Nation."

However an NBC News spokesman insisted "there are absolutely no plans" to make changes at the show, reported the Post.

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