Where There’s Smoke…
Yes, it’s another “David Gregory’s Meet The Press days are numbered” article but this one is different because it’s not Page Six or anyone connected with News Corp.’s New York Post. Even more significantly it’s The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove.
In multiple conversations that I had with people inside and outside NBC after the item appeared, it was taken as a given that Gregory is toast.
Why is it more significant because it’s Grove and not the curmudgeonly Page Six which loves to stick it to CNN and NBC/MSNBC? Because Grove, rightly or wrongly, is considered by many to be…ahem…friendly…to 30 Rock. Grove doesn’t write all that often about the goings on at NBC/MSNBC but when he does it’s not usually in…how shall I put it?…provocative tones. So to see Grove come forward with his own sourcing on Gregory being in trouble and then, on top of that, to start speculating about who leaked to The Post (!!!), something I have not seen him do before, and I had to snap to attention and read every little detail…
According to my sources, Scarborough, 51, a Washington-savvy former Republican congressman from Florida, and Brzezinski, 47, the supremely well-connected daughter of former White House national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, have been aggressively angling for the job in the event of Gregory’s all-but-certain demise. If they were to be picked as MTP cohosts, it would represent a complete departure from the 69-year-old program’s traditional format. On Thursday, Scarborough tweeted: “There have been numerous stories with NBC News sources saying Mika and I have been ‘aggressively angling’ for MTP. That is false.” There might be a difference in nuance, of course, between “aggressively angling” and “making no secret” that you want the job, as an informed source told me about Scarborough and Brzezinski.
An NBC insider told me the duo had believed they had an understanding with top news division executives that they would be named cohosts of the Sunday Today show in addition to their Morning Joe duties. Then Turness arrived at NBC from Britain’s ITV News in August 2013 and undid the agreement, I’m told. “They were furious,” my source told me, referring to Scarborough and Brzezinski.
Does this mean that Gregory is indeed in serious trouble? It’s hard to say. NBC did come out publicly with a big backing of Gregory not too long ago. But that isn’t necessarily indicative of anything definitive. Recall that when Ann Curry was rumored to be on the outs at The Today Show, there were conflicting views inside NBC on what to do with some factions advocating dropping her and others looking to keep her. That may be what’s playing out right now with elements at NBC wanting to stay the course and others looking to make a change.
One thing is certain, this story isn’t just a Page Six pushed story anymore. It’s gone mainstream. And that is something I find very significant. What it’s significance ultimately portends is not yet clear however.