Dr. Scott Gottlieb once spent Sunday mornings surfing v TV’s spate the venerable windy affairs programs. In recent months, the has become impossible.

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Gottlieb, a former FDA commissioner and also a well-connected adviser in the worlds of medicine and health business, can’t sit earlier and look in ~ the Sunday shows because he has, over the previous year, become a main element of among them. He has been interviewed ~ above CBS’ “Face the Nation” so plenty of times the he has end up being one of the most regular non-journalist guests in the history of the show, which launched in 1954. Only former Senator man McCain has appeared an ext often ~ above the show — 112 times — transparent its nearly six decades on the air. Gottlieb this previous Sunday do his 73rd illustration on the program, surpassing Senator lindsay Graham, who has been top top the regimen 69 times, and Senator Bob Dole, who has been on 64 times. He has also been a much more frequent guest than now-President Joe Biden, who has appeared on “Nation” on 56 various occasions.


“I have to make sure I’m stop Sundays and also managing mine weekends,” claims Gottlieb in an interview. “There is sort of an expectation that I’ll it is in on the show, at least from my perspective.”

The Sunday anchor is normally the continual presence, however in “Nation’s” case, Gottlieb has continued to present up no matter who is in the chair. Margaret Brennan, the consistent moderator, has been top top maternity leave, and John Dickerson has filled in most weeks. Gottlieb, states Brennan, now serves as “our go-to every week because that what carry out Americans should know around the coronavirus.” His time ~ above the program appears to it is in luring viewers: “Face the Nation” was the most-watched of TV’s Sunday programs during the 2020-2021 TV season.

For decades, TV’s Sunday public-affairs programs have largely focused on the political, and probably always will. Now, an unmatched news bike has compelled producers to put a hard lens ~ above the existential. Threats to the top quality of human being life top top the earth are acquisition up much more of society’s in its entirety bandwidth. The idea of having a skilled pandemic skilled on “Nation” must come as little surprise in these distinct times. However Gottlieb’s sustained tenure is nothing much less than seismic in the civilization of Sunday news TV, where numerous of the programs have adhered to their simple format because that years. Every the shows have actually their regulars, but couple of bring the same newsmakers ago week after mainly after week.

As Gottlieb’s access time continued, “Nation” dropped one of the staples of the Sunday shows: a panel of experts chopping up the latest turns in national politics. Producers would quite just discover ways to deliver brand-new facts come the public, claims Mary Hager, the “Face the Nation” executive, management producer who has supervised the program due to the fact that 2011. “We have readjusted with the times, and also I think Scott Gottlieb has been a very big part of that,” states Hager. “He has actually really assisted in terms of answering questions and also getting details out in a good, clear, solid, specific fashion.”


On plenty of Sundays, Gottlieb supplies a straight take top top what a pandemic-crimped future might hold. “I can’t think that a service right now that would placed 30 unvaccinated human being in a confined space without masks and also keep castle there because that the totality day. No business would carry out that responsibly,” he claimed on Sunday. “And yet that’s what we’re walk to it is in doing in part schools. So i think we require to get in the school year with a level of humility and also prudence.” In other moments, he renders no-nonsense pronouncements. “I wouldn’t be heralding mission accomplished,” he stated on the July 4 transfer of “Face the Nation.” “I think this is gonna be a lengthy fight.”

Producers have had him on even when they book a major government expert like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the manager of the national Institute that Allergy and also Infectious Diseases, or Rochelle Walensky, manager of the Centers for disease Control and Prevention. Those officials market the government perspective, states Hager, however “we still need to have Gottlieb on” to offer counterpoint or extr perspective. “There is still a human being who is analysis the tea leaves and also looking in ~ the trends.”

Gottlieb sees the Sunday routine as a meet to help viewers gain perspective and also see around the next corner, not to react to the recent headlines. “I really shot to call it together I see it and I really try to look ahead, and shot to number out what human being are walking to need to understand to proceed to continue to be safe.”

He wasn’t in a cab through Hager and Brennan after ~ CBS News’ management of the presidential dispute in southern Carolina last year, however he may also have. As the coronavirus threat grew worse, the CBS News staffers wanted to find someone whose field of expertise spanned wider than most. Gottlieb had worked in the U.S. Food and also Drug administration during chairman Donald Trump’s tenure, is top top the board of Pfizer (which is disclosed come viewers regularly) and also was providing advice to different state governors. His tweets top top the White House’ response to the early component of the pandemic were what originally recorded Brennan’s attention. “We to be in the midst of a relatively fast vaccine breakthrough and roll out,” Brennan recalls. “He has actually insight into the medicine world. He to know what it takes to acquire a vaccine expedited and what the process looks like.” Carol Ross Joynt, the show’s booking producer, collection about reaching out to him.

Even Gottlieb should live through a few uncertainties. While he expects to be referred to as to show up on “Nation” most Sundays, his visibility is no guaranteed. As soon as the show scored an exclude, interview with Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu in May, it expected taking increase time that might typically have been accorded to Gottlieb. And when a bomb exploded in Nashville top top Christmas morning last year, break news coverage take it up time throughout the “Nation” broadcast.

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Nor walk he know what specific questions will certainly be raised. “Early in the relationship, Margaret would ask questions and I would say, ‘Do you arrangement to questioning me around that?’ and also Margaret has a conventional response. She would slow-moving down and, in a an extremely dignified way, say, ‘I haven’t written my inquiries yet,’” Gottlieb recalls. “Pretty soon, I obtained the post that that was Margaret’s polite way of saying, ‘There’s no method I’m going to tell girlfriend what I’m asking, so don’t asking me that.’”

In a different era, Gottlieb can not be able to make such frequent cameos. He currently has a contributor commitment with CNBC, and cannot appear in many venues that room competitive through NBCUniversal-owned news outlets. However when the struck his contract v the business-news cable network, that secured a “carve out” because that Sunday public-affairs programs, together he believed he can release a book about his time in the trump administration. That expected he was complimentary to appear on “Nation,” Gottlieb says, and CNBC freshly agreed to store that problem in his contract once he fix up his commitment there.

Given the nation’s current coronavirus trajectory, Gottlieb will most likely be making much more appearances, not fewer. Brennan expects she will certainly be questioning him concerns again “sooner, quite than later,” as she takes benefit of the leave she feels fortunate that CBS News has granted. “You do require some time come mentally, emotionally, just number out just how to juggle it all” an especially in this moment, she says. Her time away, she add to “will more than likely be less than the full allotted leave, yet enough time that i think is needed.”

Gottlieb is proud of the contributions he has made ~ above the show, yet even he hopes he ultimately won’t be essential to talk about the week’s events. “I look front to a day as soon as I deserve to talk about anything other than the pandemic.”