David Gregory Talks NBC Split And Why Brian Williams Is Still With The Network
When David Gregory parted ways with NBC roughly a year ago, not too much was said about the split.
Before Gregory’s departure from Meet the Press, rumors swirled that execs planned to revamp and reinvigorate Press — with Chuck Todd instead. Ratings had flagged, and people seemed not to care for David at the helm; he’d moderated the show for six years.
When word of his possible ouster emerged, he confirmed it via Twitter.
“I leave NBC as I came — humbled and grateful. I love journalism and serving as moderator of MTP 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.”
Gregory has now broken his silence, telling CBS News bluntly, “I don’t miss NBC… I don’t miss being there. It was just the wrong atmosphere for me.”
David called his removal humiliating and derided the network for handling the transition to Chuck Todd poorly, allowing various and sometimes untrue information to leak to the media. Gregory also said that he learned of his removal in a rather passive-aggressive way.
Executives contacted David while he was out of the office, picking up his kids from summer camp in New Hampshire. They also wouldn’t allow David to host his last show in an attempt to avoid an “Ann Curry” moment.
“NBC was concerned that if they let me have a last show to thank the audience that I was going to somehow go after them. They wanted to avoid that,” he said. “That was never going to happen. So they leaked the fact that they had made a decision for me to go.”
In an interview with New York Magazine, Gregory acknowledged differences between him and executives, with regard to the direction Meet the Press was going to take in the future.
“NBC at that time, if you remember, was having a lot of different difficulties. Nightly News was starting to suffer. The Today show fell out of first place. There was no question we were struggling in the ratings. But remember I was No. 1 for three years of my tenure. (Meet the Press) was still profitable and I was trying to do things and make changes to help the show evolve.”
Gregory is limited in what he can say about his break up, thanks to a $4 million severance agreement. But in the New York Magazine interview, he shouldered some of the blame for the discontent at NBC.
“I think I could have done a better job building a community so when I was facing tough times people would have been rooting for me and not thinking, ‘Yeah, he deserves his comeuppance.’ I didn’t do a really good job of that.”
Gregory also spoke briefly about fellow journalist Brian Williams, whose journalistic integrity was called into question after he was found to have fabricated and exaggerated some of his news stories. And yet, Williams is returning to the network, while David’s split seems to be permanent.
“I have a lot of respect for Brian. I’ve been around him a long time. I never did anything wrong, and I faced a lot of scrutiny. No one questioned my journalistic capability or my integrity. But I don’t like to see him judged just by this,” he said. “I know how seriously any military family would take that kind of exaggeration or embellishment, and as a journalist it’s so core to what we do to build up our integrity, and he was wrong.”
David said he tries not to think about the fact that his former colleague still has his job.
[Photo Courtesy Moses Robinson/Getty Images]