Tina Brown‘s nomination of Rachel Maddow to host Meet The Press is inspired. She’d be great, she’d keep things lively, she knows how to tapdance but not be overly deferential or softball (like the show’s temporary host Tom Brokaw clearly was last weekend during his Laura Bush interview), and she’d bring in the ratings.
“If Obama is post-racial, Maddow is post-gender,” writes Brown, “divested of hair-frosted femininity in the anchor genre and more appealing because of it. Like him, she’s a calm, unflappable new era phenomenon. Sure, she’s a lefty, and in the past week she’s been swinging away at Obama’s cabinet choices, but I suspect she’s ambitious enough to dial it back if she had to. (She also has that weird TV gene that’s so hungry for air time she’d probably insist on keeping her five-day job at MSNBC. Russert himself was on every show except Project Runway.)”
Brown allows that “maybe this kind of seismic move asks too much of NBC brass.
“NBC seems to be paralyzed by the sense that whomever they chose has to be another Tim Russert. Not so. Russert defined an era, but that era is over. It’s as if in the months since he died the hands of the clock have spun with accelerated speed, leaving us all with a desire for reinvention. There’s been an Obama effect in every sphere of business from General Motors to network TV.
“Meet the Press has to change not just the host but the show itself. It may be successful now, but the winds of change could suddenly engulf it as they have the giants of print.”