Desperate to reverse the fortunes of one of its flagship programs, NBC reportedly commissioned a psychological consultant to interview the friends and family of “Meet the Press” host David Gregory.
According to the Washington Post, the work was done last year to help turn around the Sunday morning talk show that once dominated the genre but has fallen to third place behind its rivals on CBS and ABC.
A spokeswoman for NBC told WaPo the consultant, who even interviewed Gregory’s wife, was brought in “to get perspective and insight from people who know him best.”
The psychological assessment “struck some at NBC as odd, given that Gregory has been employed there for nearly 20 years,” according to WaPo.
Gregory took over as moderator of “Meet the Press” in 2008 following the death of Tim Russert, who hosted the show for nearly two decades. With Russert at the helm, the show reigned over the Sunday morning landscape.
But despite the current ratings woes, NBC News president Deborah Turness told the Huffington Post last month that the network is “doubling down on David Gregory right now.”
Update, 11:30 a.m.: On Monday morning, NBC spokeswoman Meghan Pianta disputed the Washington Post’s report. She told Politico in an email that the network had hired a “brand consultant—not, as reported, a psychological one.”