NBC's David Gregory a Shoe-in for Don Imus's Slot

David Gregory does a wonderful job on MSNBC, filling in for Don Imus's old spot

Fans of the former Imus In the Morning show must be breathing a bit easier this week -- even crying a little less at the crack of dawn -- thanks to NBC's ultimate multitasker, David Gregory [Wiki]. The ever-personable White House correspondent made Don Imus's old MSNBC slot feel like home the last couple of days by holding down the hosting duties. The ad hoc show -- or trial show, per this Media Bistro article -- has been dubbed "Gregory Live."

Fans of the old Imus show, of course, already have a comfort level with David Gregory, who for years has been among the favored guest journalists appearing on Don's show. At times the adorable, smart and very funny Mr. Gregory even seemed to channel his pal Don Imus. Not Imus's rude, curmugeonly manners but his habitual throw-away phrases such as "That'll be fine."

One has to assume that David Gregory has Don Imus's blessing in filling his old MSNBC slot. According to this detailed recap at News Busters, David vigorously defended Don's infamous faux pas a few weeks ago while sitting in and interviewing the Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Dave's interview with the two civil rights leaders apparently grew mighty heated. But fans of NBC's lead White House correspondent know quite well how he rouses dander, a la his terse relationship with White House Press Secretary Tony Snow -- and before him, with Scott McClellan.

But about David Gregory and multitasking... He occasionally has filled-in for Matt Lauer on the Today Show and done a superb job. Ditto re: David's success at hosting Hardball on occasion for uber-hyper-hysterical Chris Matthews. Now, David's flirting with the possibility of permanently replacing Don Imus both on MSNBC and WFAN Radio, with Imus sidekicks Charles McCord and Chris Carlin delivering news and sports updates like in the good ol' days.

I've gotta say, though, there's a bit of an irrascible element there -- an unnecessary and unwanted "Bernard McGuirk" element on David's trial show. Her name is Leslie Gold.

Known as The Radio Chick, Leslie Gold took a moment to "acknowledge, but not apologize" to David Gregory on Thursday's show. She said that someone told her she'd been too rough in her banter with him on Wednesday. I'd noticed the same thing.

By the time Friday's show rolled around, I noticed The Radio Chick had seriously taken the edge off her remarks to David Gregory. Good move, but she may already have blown it with those pulling for MSNBC to recapture the old Imus magic. Here's why:

1. The public just vehemently rejected the overdose of mean-spirited banter on the Imus show. Leslie Gold's too-tough personality toys with forcing the old Imus slot right back to that unsavory flavor.

2. Charles McCord, Chris Carlin and Lou have a long relationship of joshing with David Gregory, and vice versa. Leslie Gold's trying so hard to "locker-room" feels like a throw back to Contessa Brewer, who tried unsuccessfully to fit in on Imus a few years ago.

3. Like Raymond, everybody loves affable David Gregory. It's a turn-off to see The Radio Chick roughing him up. And David's just too much of a nice guy and gentleman to shoot back with the same curtness.

If MSNBC general manager Dan Abrams wants this to work well -- and it certainly can -- he may need to rethink Leslie Gold. Or at least ensure she receives earnest feedback from fans of the timeslot. I doubt that diehard Imus fans will embrace a hard female element on the show. They'll be like I was: bracing and cringing everytime Bernard "Bernie" McGuirk opened his mouth -- eventually being so offended that I totally stopped watching.

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4838butterfly said...

It would be nice if MSNBC would put something different in this time slot. I don't believe that more of the same type of racy humor is a good idea.

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