George W. Bush -- who’s more or less spent the last two years on a self-imposed media blackout since turning over the keys to the Oval Office to Barack Obama -- is back on television tonight, in an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer on the eve of his memoir, “Decision Points,” out Tuesday.
The hourlong primetime special, "Matt Lauer Reports," airs at 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Monday.
That Lauer scored the first televised sitdown with the 43rd president since leaving office may or may not have had anything to do with Jenna Bush Hager’s role as a regular contributor on the “Today” show. (To be fair, Lauer interviewed Bush several times during his presidency and election campaigns.) Executive producer Jim Bell hinted that Lauer's coup came, in part, because the special is “a conversation with President Bush about his book” -- published by Random House's Crown imprint -- and not a critique of his presidency.
Bush will also appear on "Oprah" on Tuesday and the "Today" show on Wednesday. Other stops on the Bush push: "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" (Nov. 18), CNN (Candy Crowley), CBS "Sunday Morning," Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity's radio shows on Tuesday and, of course, Fox News -- with Hannity (Tuesday), Bill O'Reilly (Thursday) and Greta Van Susteren (Friday).
NBC has been teasing Lauer's sitdown with Bush for a few days, including on its “Sunday Night Football” broadcast.
And despite the New York Times' suggestion that “the soft power of Matt Lauer” (nifty alliteration!) was the reason W's camp chose the “Today” show anchor for his first post-presidential sitdown, Lauer did manage to make Bush tear up during the interview. The tears came during a Lauer-led exchange about a Bush having to face miltary family after a soldier's death.
Lauer's no Frost, but that wasn't the point.