The sudden death of Tim Russert has left the management of NBC News, for the moment at least, at a loss to contemplate how to replace him.
Mr. Russert was not only the moderator of "Meet the Press," television's most successful political talk show, he was also the chief of NBC's Washington bureau, responsible for the hiring of staff members and directing its operations. More significantly, he was NBC's public face on politics, appearing regularly on the network's full range of programs, including the "Today" show, NBC's "Nightly News," and on its cable news channel MSNBC.
"It's going to take four or five people to replace Tim," said Bob Schieffer, Mr. Russert's competitor for two decades on CBS's Sunday program, "Face the Nation," in a telephone interview from a barge in the Burgundy region of France, where he was vacationing.
"They've got to find a moderator for 'Meet the Press.' They've got to find a manager for that bureau. They've got to find someone who understands as much about politics as Tim does and there aren't many people who do. They've got to find someone who is willing to get up in the morning and go on the 'Today' show and do the 'Nightly News' and then stay up late to go on MSNBC."