My favorite media Web site, Mediaite, asks: “What caused NBC’s Meet the Press to fall behind Face the Nation and This Week?” MTP, you see, is at a 21-year low in ratings.
I’ve got eight reasons, not mutually exclusive:
2. Bob Schieffer has gotten feisty. He zings administration guests, asks probing questions, and gives snappy commentary. Given the choice between a Schieffer and a Gregory interview, I’d watch the former every time.
3. The roundtable on Meet the Press is populated by the same crowd of moss-covered insiders you would have seen five or 10 years ago. Booooring.
4. Specifically, only the stodgiest and shopworn conservative commentators (you know who they are) appear again and again and again.
5. The same guests show up again and again. If it’s Sunday it must be Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Newt Gingrich and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
6. Viewers don’t distinguish between MSNBC and NBC. If they write off MSNBC as non-news, liberal propaganda they likely aren’t going to go looking on the network for serious interviews and analysis.
8. Gregory has never put an individual stamp on the show. A set make-over isn’t enough to avoid the unfavorable comparison to Tim Russert, the host who most defined the show.
This isn’t rocket science. MTP is boring and sometimes unwatchable; the competition has gotten better.