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NBC Goes Risk-Free, Picks Chuck Todd for “Meet the Press”

Here are our nominees who might have saved a format gone stale.

Andrea Mitchell, Chuck Todd, and David Gregory on Meet the Press. Photograph by Justin Lubin/NBC.

The news that MSNBC’s Chuck Todd will replace David Gregory as host of Meet the Press deflated a bubble of speculation that had grown as ratings for NBC’s Sunday chat show, once helmed by the beloved Tim Russert, tumbled. (Rumors spiked in mid-July after Morning Joe’s Mika Brzezinski bought a Georgetown condo.) We like Todd, but in an age when Americans have soured on insider-y Washington TV types, we were hoping for someone who could shake up the entire Sunday-morning genre.

Jill Abramson
A former New York Times Washington bureau chief, Abramson was canned this past spring as the paper’s top editor, in part for being too prickly. The kind of questions that made her Times bosses unhappy would likely do the same for top officials—to the delight of viewers.

Simon Cowell
Dismiss Cowell as an entertainment-industry lightweight, but we say Piers Morgan was simply the wrong Britain’s Got Talent judge. Cowell is far removed from the US political wars, but after a thousand hotel-ballroom auditions, he knows the American voter intimately.

Marc Maron
The comedian has shown himself to be a capable, dry-eyed interviewer as host of his WTF podcasts. But can he channel his “river of rage” performing style without his signature flood of F-bombs?

Susanna Quinn
The wife of superlobbyist Jack Quinn and a socialite who doesn’t take no as an RSVP, she already runs the hottest off-the-record political salon in Washington. If we can’t escape Sunday-morning guests’ incestuous wonkery, we can at least ensure that it’s interesting.

Jorge Ramos
Univision’s Anderson Cooper is ready for his crossover. Unafraid to chide President Obama in a 2012 interview for whiffing on immigration reform, Ramos would bring alien demographics—Hispanics and those who don’t eat at the Palm—to the table.

David Letterman
Cranky even with movie stars whose work he’s supposed to be plugging, Letterman wouldn’t sit quietly when political blather gets “hinky,” as they say back in Indiana. And with Meet the Press shooting in Washington, John McCain could read the Top Ten list every week.

Carole Coleman
In 2004, George W. Bush sat down with this Irish TV journalist for what he assumed would be a softball session. Instead, she asked tougher questions than a Russert would dare. “We have a spunky one here,” he said before she grilled him about Iraq. We’d like to see that uneasy grin on more faces.

Bill Nye
Having honed his debating skills defending Darwin’s theory in his anti-creationism campaign, the Science Guy is used to refuting slickly drawled malarkey. Bonus: He might even be able to explain carbon credits in a way we can understand.

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