Luke Russert, the son of longtime “Meet the Press” moderator Tim Russert, is leaving NBC after eight years with the network.
Russert, who joined the network out of college in 2008, just six weeks after the death of his father, announced his decision Wednesday, saying his last day will be this Friday, July 15.
In a statement on Twitter, Russert wrote: “It has been a privilege and an honor for me to have worked for NBC News for the last eight years. I will always be eternally grateful for all the opportunities I’ve received and for the incredible people I’ve gotten to know along the way. NBC News is family and while it’s hard to leave, It’s the right decision for me at this time.”
Russert has been a correspondent for “NBC Nightly News,” “Today” and NBCNews.com, among other programs, and has filled in as host of a number of MSNBC programs.
He adds in his statement: “It’s fair to say my broadcast career began in an unusual way after college graduation and the death of my father. As a result, I threw myself into the work and never took the time to reflect, to travel and to experience many things that would have given me a clearer sense of what my future should be. Now at 30, I look forward to taking some time away from political reporting and focusing my efforts on other endeavors that I’ve long wanted to pursue.”
Russert’s father was with NBC News for 24 years, including 17 as moderator of “Meet the Press.”
CNN notes that the announcement got the rumor mill grinding. “Thirty-year-old congressional correspondents rarely leave the business with two days notice,” CNN reports. “It’s even more unusual for one to do so on the eve of the political conventions. And Russert is no ordinary correspondent. He is a living link to his father’s legacy, but also a well-respected reporter who overcame widespread complaints about nepotism.”
The announcement shocked observers who assumed Russert would follow in his father’s footsteps as an NBC “lifer.”
“Recent changes at NBC were a factor in Russert’s decision, several sources said,” CNN notes. A former executive who worked with both Russert and NBC News Chairman Andy Lack is quoted in the story saying: “There’s a new dynamic with Andy Lack.” Lack has been overseeing NBC News since April 2015.