NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- I have two opinions about who should be the new host of "Meet the Press."
With Tim Russert's death on Friday, NBC will need someone who is steady, reassuring, calm and analytical. David Gregory, familiar to NBC viewers for his White House coverage, should get the job. Chris Matthews should definitely not be under consideration.
Gregory understands politics; he is a respected figure in Washington. True, he once had a reputation as a newsman who seemed to delight in tweaking and provoking politicians, especially President Bush.
I could live without news people preening to get attention, but Gregory has come a long way. He has served his audience well by remembering that it's more important to inform than entertain viewers.
Matthews, probably NBC News' most famous individual now that Russert has passed on, would be a horrendous selection. "Meet the Press" doesn't need a host to put it on the map. It's already the most well-known and respected program of its kind.
If political candidates and other newsmakers could choose to go on only one show, I bet they would pick "Meet the Press" without hesitation.
Matthews' antics -- his wild opinions and confrontational nature -- would be a major distraction for NBC's viewers on "Meet the Press."
NBC now faces the difficult task of selecting someone who can earn the viewers' trust in this capacity.
Russert stood out from the pack on Sunday mornings because he asked tough questions in a cordial, though not quite deferential way. He never seemed starstruck or eager to cut guests down.
I wrote in a Media Web column that Russert was the best interviewer on television, and I never had a reason to change that opinion.
The network must find someone from its stable of terrific news people who can continue the legacy of "Meet the Press" -- a show known for its sense of fairness to politicians of all stripes.
For NBC, the necessity to replace Russert comes at possibly the worst time imaginable. The nation is in the thick of a wild and unpredictable election campaign with so many questions: Who will be the running mates to Barack Obama and John McCain? What role will Hillary Clinton have now? Above all, who will be our next president?
Many of these issues will be sorted out on "Meet the Press." NBC must name a successor who can not only continue Russert's good work, but also blaze a path for himself or herself.
The public will mourn the loss of Tim Russert, naturally, but viewers also will want to tune in to someone new and fresh.
The electoral process won't stop; the news flow will go on. But one constant will continue: American political junkies will tune in to "Meet the Press" on Sunday mornings, as they always have.
MEDIA WEB QUESTION OF THE DAY: Who should take the helm on 'Meet the Press?' Send email to .
By Jon Friedman
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