Still smarting from the botched firing of Today co-host Ann Curry in 2012, NBC News took a different tack on Sunday after having fired David Gregory from his post as moderator of Meet the Press.
After Curry was fired she was allowed to say goodbye on the air, which turned into a tear-filled mess that only underscored just how badly NBC handled her termination from the show.
NBC decided that Gregory wouldn’t get a chance to say goodbye on-air, and instead they put together a video tribute for his nearly six-year run as host of Meet the Press, narrated by guest host Andrea Mitchell.
Mitchell noted at the beginning that Gregory’s final show was the previous Sunday—though she didn’t mention why that was the case—and said that Gregory made a lot of history during his time at NBC:
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. Through all the years, David has been true to the traditions of the program and NBC News.
Despite all the history-making that Mitchell referred to, it wasn’t enough to save Gregory’s job, as the ratings went into a nosedive during his tenure. He took the formerly top-rated show, under the late Tim Russert, to number three in the Sunday morning talk-show ratings race.
Mitchell added a personal note at the end: “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.”
While NBC avoided a Curry-like farewell disaster, the video tribute was a bit odd—almost as if they were honoring a dead colleague, rather than someone they fired.
For those who feel sorry for Gregory, he’ll be just fine. The New York Post reported that NBC paid him $4 million when they fired him.
But in return for that money, Gregory “was asked to sign a nondisparagement clause,” according to the Post. While his public parting words were gracious, “quietly, sources say, Gregory is ‘angry and humiliated’ at the way he was treated by NBC suits who let him twist in the wind through months of painful speculation before finally pulling the plug.” Finally, according to the Post, “Gregory confronted NBC brass last week after continuous rumors he would be replaced by Todd,” and the plug was pulled on Thursday.