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Tom Brokaw will host 'Meet the Press' through the election

June 22, 2008 | 10:46 am

NBC announced Sunday morning that Tom Brokaw, the former anchor of "NBC Nightly News," will host "Meet the Press" in Tim Russert's place through the November elections.

The popular Russert died June 13. In addition to the public mourning, his sudden death created an important vacancy within NBC's news division. For the past week, the leading candidates appeared to be NBC News Chief White House Correspondent David Gregory, PBS’ Gwen Ifill, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and NBC Political Director Chuck Todd.

On Thursday, NBC News President Steve Capus spoke to the Times about filling Russert's shoes. “Tim is truly irreplaceable, and there’s no single person who can step in and do all this. So we have a considerable list of roles that need to be filled. We’re just going to take them one at a time.”

By choosing Brokaw as the interim host, Capus and NBC has brought in a stabilizing force while the network makes a longer-term decision. Brokaw served as the "Nightly News" anchor for 22 years and retired from that position four years ago but has remained the special correspondent for NBC News. When Russert died, it was Brokaw who announced it, and he also led the discussion about Russert's life and career on the June 15 "Meet the Press."

In the NBC press release, Brokaw signaled "Meet the Press' " enduring nature beyond any one host.

"I've been appearing on 'Meet the Press' since the days of Watergate when it was moderated by Lawrence E. Spivak right through the distinguished tenure of my great friend, Tim Russert, so I feel right at home," it read. "Tim made 'Meet the Press' the center of the universe for informative and lively discussions of public affairs, particularly the exciting 2008 campaign for president, and I intend to continue that commitment to our viewers."

-- Kate Aurthur and Matea Gold

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