“I will miss him as a daily colleague, but know he will always be a friend,” fill-in host Andrea Mitchell told viewers Sunday morning
NBC's “Meet the Press” aired for the first time Sunday since David Gregory's exit, and there was no mention of Gregory at the start of the program. However, fill-in host Andrea Mitchell paid tribute to the ousted moderator and his 20-year career at the network near the end of the program.
“As you may be aware, David Gregory's final show as moderator of ‘Meet the Press’ was last Sunday. ‘Meet the Press’ makes a lot of history — and a great deal of it was with David at the helm since he started in December 2008,” Mitchell told viewers.
Mitchell, who is NBC News’ chief foreign affairs correspondent, also looked back at Gregory's career with the network and praised his interview with Vice President Joe Biden, who came out in support of gay marriage, as well as the GOP primary debate that Gregory moderated in 2012.
“In 20 years with NBC News, David has done it all: The OJ Simpson trial, Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing, ‘Today Show’ guest-hosting and, when the cameras weren't rolling, dead on-imitations of everyone from presidents of the United States to Tom Brokaw,” Mitchell continued. “Through all the years, David has been true to the traditions of the program and NBC News.”
Mitchell also mentioned a message that Gregory posted on social media announcing his departure. “On Thursday David tweeted ‘I leave NBC as I came. Humbled and grateful. I love journalism and serving as moderator of MTP was the highest honor there is. I have great respect for my colleagues at NBC News and wish them all well. To the viewers, I say thank you.'”
Mitchell then said a personal goodbye to Gregory, “As he leaves NBC News for his next adventure, I will miss him as a daily colleague, but know he will always be a friend.”
Gregory responded to the sendoff on Twitter. “My thanks to @mitchellreports and @meetthepress for their kind words this am. I will miss this chapter, but look 4ward 2 creating the new 1,” he tweeted Sunday morning.
On Thursday, hours after Gregory confirmed he was leaving the program, NBC announced that Chuck Todd would replace him — a move assumed by many.
Gregory became host of “Meet the Press” following the death of the previous moderator, Tim Russert.
For months, there had been speculation that NBC would replaced Gregory after the network's flagship Sunday news show slid to third place in the ratings behind CBS’ “Face The Nation” and ABC's “This Week,” with Gregory as moderator.
The New York Post reported Sunday that Gregory “was paid $4 million to leave NBC and signed a contract not to speak out against the network.”
Todd, who is NBC News’ political director and hosts “Daily Rundown” on MSNBC, will officially take the helm on Sept. 7.