NBC News president Deborah Turness has a bunch of problems on her hands.
She has to get "Today" back to the top of the morning show heap. She has to fend off an increasingly serious challenge for evening supremacy from ABC. And, of course, she has to hope that her recent ousting of David Gregory from "Meet the Press" will yield results.
Turness shared some very blunt thoughts about that last issue in a wide-ranging interview with the New York Times on Monday. Sounding like the British news veteran she is, Turness did not mince her words when she described the problems with the Gregory era:
Her new vision for “Meet the Press” includes adding a regular panel of journalists who will question guests, something of a return to the venerable show’s original format. “The show needs more edge,” she said. “It needs to be consequential. I think the show had become a talking shop that raked over the cold embers of what had gone on the previous week. The one-on-one conversation belongs to a decade ago. We need more of a coffeehouse conversation.”
Time will tell if that back-to-the-future approach works. Seasoned "MTP" viewers will really know something's changed when a month goes by and Lindsey Graham, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Harold Ford Jr. and David Brooks haven't made a single appearance.