Who’ll Take Russert’s Place?

Tom Brokaw may be anchoring Meet the Press through the November elections, but NBC has left open the question of who’ll be sitting in the chair come Inauguration Day.

Early money was on NBC correspondent David Gregory, but network sources say the stock of NBC political director Chuck Todd is on the rise to replace the legendary Tim Russert.

Todd, who previously was editor of the online tipsheet the Hotline and had little TV experience before joining NBC last year, got a lot of airtime during the extended primary season and developed a big following on the Web on such sites as Chucktoddfacts.com and Vivachucktodd.blogspot.com. Few observers missed the tableau of Brokaw, Brian Williams, and Todd overlooking Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at Denver’s Invesco Field. The buzz: Was this NBC’s future?

Todd would be a host in the mold of Russert: an unflashy shoe-leather journalist who loves the minutiae of politics, knows the numbers and trivia, and lives for the Washington game.

A dark horse in the race: Frank Sesno, who once hosted the CNN Sunday show Late Edition. “He’s serious, sincere, objective, and conveys that everyday-Joe aura that made Russert a draw,” says Michael Turk, who founded a Facebook group to “Draft Frank” for the host position.

This article first appeared in the October 2008 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from that issue, click here

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