Color this weird. Since David Gregory took over Meet The Press, the industry heavyweight of the Sunday political talk shows, their ratings have taken a nose dive. When they were looking for a replacement for Tim Russert, I wrote that NBC should search their vast resources of reporters to find a new voice to fill the slot because there was nobody capable in their current stable (in 2006) to take over the job. NBC instead chose to tap Gregory, who was their White House correspondent at the time, to be the man and it has proven to be a disaster. He did well beating up George Bush's press secretaries, but that does not come close to equaling what it takes to run an hour-long interview show.
The Washington Post wrote a featured article about MTP's ratings struggles, and reported that NBC News commissioned a "psychological consultant" to interview his friends and wife so that they can try and figure out how to make Gregory succeed and raise Meet The Press's horrible ratings.
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.
This is bizarre.
Now NBC is disputing Paul Farhi's article and are saying they hired a "brand consultant" instead of a psychological one, but Paul disputes that claim:
UPDATE (11:17 a.m.): In an email, Pianta challenged Farhi's reporting, saying that the network brought in a "brand consultant" not a psychological one as Farhi reported:
Last year Meet the Press brought in a brand consultant — not, as reported, a psychological one — to better understand how its anchor connects. This is certainly not unusual for any television program, especially one that’s driven so heavily by one person.
UPDATE (11:25 a.m.): Farhi said he checked with NBC twice on Sunday about the term "psychological" and that they had no objections at the time.↓ Story continues below ↓
"I checked it twice with them yesterday. No objections then," he wrote in an email.
Nicole Belle wrote an article yesterday highlighting why David Gregory has been so bad for our national discourse since he took over MTP and after watching the video you'll understand why: David Gregory Proves Why He's So Bad For The National Dialogue
All of this only spells more trouble for David Gregory in the coming weeks.