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A Big Weekend for ‘Face the Nation’

This is a big few days for the CBS Sunday public affairs show “Face the Nation.” Today the show launched a shiny new website, which is heavy on graphic elements. On Sunday the guest will be Vice President Joe Biden, a big get for any show. And of course the biggest thing: on Sunday “Face the Nation” expands from a half-hour to a full-hour, putting it on par with its competition on NBC, ABC and Fox.

Moderator Bob Schieffer spoke to the AP’s David Bauder about the move, saying he “almost fainted” when he got the news that the show would be expanding:

“Tim [Russert] was the best of the best,” Schieffer said. “But the fact of the matter is what propelled them to No. 1 is they went to an hour and they were the first to do that. When they did that, it left us in the dust.”

Schieffer repeatedly nagged his bosses to follow suit. He made the same speech when Jeff Fager and David Rhodes took over last year, not expecting much. When they gave the go-ahead, Schieffer said, “I nearly fainted.”

Update: For what it’s worth, the first show to actually go an hour was “This Week with David Brinkley,” back in 1981.

NBC’s “Meet the Press” is responding by tweaking its own format. With moderator David Gregory on vacation, Savannah Guthrie will conduct the newsmaker interviews.  Joe Scarborough will moderate the political roundtable, which will include his “Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski as well as David Brooks, Tom Friedman, Jon Meacham, and Harold Ford, Jr.

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