NBC News made the logical move on Sunday in tapping Tom Brokaw for the tough job of following Tim Russert as moderator of “Meet the Press” for the rest of this year, at least through the end of the presidential race in November.
Brokaw has the reporting experience, the on-air chops and the gravitas to uphold Russert’s considerable legacy in turning “Meet the Press” into a consistent news-making and profit-making enterprise for the Peacock, as Variety’s Michael Schneider reports.
But as right as it is to hand the chair to Brokaw in the short term, there’s an equally smart choice on the NBC News roster to take the job for the long haul. Andrea Mitchell, Peacock’s chief foreign affairs correspondent, also has the resume, the Washington relationships, the reporting skills and the extra-thick skin to take on the job. Having Brokaw handle the challenging transition period in the wake of Russert’s surprising death June 13 is the best scenario that could arise for the show out of NBC News’ tragic loss. Mitchell wouldn’t have to follow Babe Ruth up to bat, and having a clearly defined limited tenure would probably help Brokaw avoid the inevitable “is he as good as” comparisons too.
Brokaw, in my view, is the very model of how a network anchor should comport him or herself after relinquishing the throne.