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Meet the Press

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Meet the Press
GenrePublic affairs/news analysis program
Created byMartha Rountree[1][2]
Lawrence Spivak[1]
Directed byRob Melick[3]
Presented byKristen Welker
(for past moderators, see section)
Narrated byFred Facey
Bert Pence
Dennis Haysbert
Theme music composerJohn Williams
Opening theme"The Pulse of Events"[4] (fourth part of The Mission)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons70
No. of episodes3,600+
Executive producerDavid P. Gelles
Production locationsNBC News Washington Bureau, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.[5]
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time30 minutes (1947–1992)
60 minutes (1992–present)
Production companyNBC News Productions
Original networkNBC
Original releaseNovember 6, 1947 (1947-11-06) –

Meet the Press is a weekly American television Sunday morning talk show broadcast on NBC.[6][7] It is the longest-running program on American television, though its format has changed since the debut episode on November 6, 1947.[8] Meet the Press specializes in interviews with leaders in Washington, D.C., across the country, and around the world on issues of politics, economics, foreign policy, and other public affairs, along with panel discussions that provide opinions and analysis. In January 2021, production moved to NBC's bureau on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.[5][9]

The longevity of Meet the Press is attributable in part to the fact that the program debuted during what was only the second official "network television season" for American television. It was the first live television network news program on which a sitting president of the United States appeared; this occurred on its broadcast on November 9, 1975, which featured Gerald Ford. The program has been hosted by 12 moderators, beginning with creator Martha Rountree. The show's current moderator is Kristen Welker, who became moderator in September 2023 following longtime moderator Chuck Todd’s departure.

The hour-long program airs in most markets on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. live in the Eastern Time Zone and on tape delay elsewhere. Meet the Press is also occasionally pre-empted by network coverage of sports events held outside the U.S. The program is also rebroadcast on Mondays at 2:30  a.m. Eastern Time on MSNBC, whose audio feed is also simulcast on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. The program is syndicated by Westwood One to various radio stations around the United States, and is on C-SPAN Radio as part of its replays of the Sunday morning talk shows.


The program's format consists of an extended one-on-one interview with the host, and is sometimes followed by a roundtable discussion or one-on-two interview with figures in adversarial positions, either Congressional members from opposite sides of the aisle or political commentators. A half-hour program for the first 45 years of its history, the show was expanded to 60 minutes starting with the broadcast on September 20, 1992.[10]

The program also features in-depth examinations of facts behind political and general news stories (particularly as part of a segment called the "Data Download", introduced after Chuck Todd assumed duties as moderator, which is conducted on a touchscreen within the main set).


Meet the Press set, November 1975. On this broadcast, a sitting American president (Gerald Ford) was, for the first time, a guest on a live television network news program.

Meet the Press began on radio on the Mutual Broadcasting System in 1945 as American Mercury Presents: Meet the Press,[11] a program to promote The American Mercury, a magazine that Lawrence Spivak purchased in 1935.[12] Before the program aired, Spivak had asked journalist Martha Rountree, who had worked in radio and had been employed by Spivak as a roving editor for the magazine, to critique plans for a new radio show. As a result, Rountree created a new radio program that she called The American Mercury, on October 5, 1945.[2]

On November 6, 1947,[13] while still on the Mutual Broadcasting System, the television rights to the program were purchased by General Foods. They began to air the show on the NBC television network with the title shortened to simply Meet the Press. The radio version then adopted the new name.

Although some sources credit Spivak with the program's creation,[1][8] Rountree developed the idea on her own, and Spivak joined as co-producer and business partner in the enterprise after the show had already debuted.[2]

Meet the Press was originally presented as a 30-minute press conference with a single guest and a panel of questioners. Its first guest was James Farley, who served as Postmaster General, Democratic National Committee chairman and campaign manager to Franklin Delano Roosevelt under the first two terms of the New Deal Administration. Martha Rountree served as its first host, the program's only female moderator until 2023.[2] She stepped down on November 1, 1953, and was succeeded by Ned Brooks, who remained as moderator until his retirement on December 26, 1965.[2] Spivak became the moderator on January 1, 1966, moving up from his role as a permanent panelist. He retired on November 9, 1975, on a special one-hour edition that featured a sitting president as guest for the first time, in this case Gerald Ford. The next week, Bill Monroe, previously a weekly panelist like Spivak had been years before, took over as moderator and stayed until June 2, 1984.

For the next seven and a half years, the program then went through a series of hosts as it struggled in the ratings against ABC's This Week with David Brinkley. Roger Mudd and Marvin Kalb, as co-moderators, followed Monroe for a year, followed by Chris Wallace (who would later go on to a much longer run as host of the rival program Fox News Sunday) from 1987 to 1988. Garrick Utley, then hosting Weekend Today, concurrently hosted Meet the Press from 1989 through December 1, 1991. All this occurred despite the increasing ratings of NBC News' other programs (and those of the network generally) during that period. The program originally aired at noon Eastern Time every Sunday before moving to a 9:00 a.m. slot by the early 1990s when it expanded to an hour.

Under Russert

Meet the Press logo used from September 10, 1995, to June 8, 2008.
Russert interviews General Peter Pace in 2006.

Network officials, concerned for the show's future, turned to Tim Russert, the network's bureau chief in Washington, D.C. He took over as moderator of Meet the Press on December 8, 1991, and remained with the program until his death on June 13, 2008, becoming the longest-serving moderator in the program's history.[14]

Under Russert, the program was expanded to one hour and became less of a televised press conference, focusing more on Russert's questions and comments; Russert also engaged in longer in-depth interviews and hosted panels of experts to discuss the topics featured in that week's broadcast. Russert signed off each edition by saying, "That's all for today. We'll be back next week. If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press."

During the professional football season, Russert, a native of Buffalo, New York, and an avid fan of the Buffalo Bills,[15][16] sometimes added, "Go Bills!," and occasionally would ask panelists, "How 'bout those Sabres?" if Buffalo's NHL hockey team was doing well. Spoofs of the show featured in a recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live often reflected his impromptu additions in support of the two professional sports franchises. By 2006, Meet the Press was the highest-rated program among the Sunday morning talk shows.[17]

On June 13, 2008, Russert died of a sudden coronary thrombosis (caused by a cholesterol plaque rupture).[18] Former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw hosted a special edition of Meet the Press dedicated to the life of Russert on June 15, 2008, in which Russert's chair was left empty as a tribute.[19]

After Russert

Mark Whitaker was named by NBC News as the division's Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief and was given "executive oversight" of Meet the Press.

Interim Brokaw era

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams acted as moderator of the first show following the tribute to Russert on June 15, 2008, with the same guests and subject matter that Russert was planning for when he died.[20]

Following Russert's death, Tom Brokaw was named the interim moderator through the 2008 general elections.[21] Brokaw followed Russert's tradition by signing off with "We'll be back next Sunday because if it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press" (a sign-off that continues to be used by his successors as moderator). In September of that year, the show was presented with limited commercial interruption.

On August 10, 2008, David Gregory moderated the panel discussion during the second half-hour of the broadcast, while Brokaw anchored the first half-hour from the site of the Summer Olympics in Beijing. The following week on August 17, 2008, he moderated the entire broadcast. On December 1, 2008, it was also reported that the December 7 broadcast would be Brokaw's last, with Gregory becoming the new permanent host the following Sunday.[22]

Under Gregory

David Gregory began his tenure as moderator on December 14, 2008. Four days after Gregory's first regular broadcast, on December 18, 2008, NBC News political director Chuck Todd was named contributing editor of Meet the Press. Throughout Gregory's tenure as moderator, Meet the Press experienced significant ratings declines. In the final three months of 2013, the program placed third among the Sunday morning talk shows in total viewership, behind CBS's Face the Nation and ABC's This Week, for the first time since 1992. It also experienced the lowest ratings in the show's entire history among the key 25-to-54 age viewing demographic during this period.[23] NBC management became uncertain as to the future direction of the program.[24]

A new set was introduced on May 2, 2010, featuring video screens and library-style bookshelves; Gregory would preview the guests to be featured during each week's broadcast using a large video screen. Different, modified intro music was also introduced, with the Meet the Press theme music in a shorter "modernized [style]... the beginning repeated with drum beats" (see "High-definition broadcasting" below for additional information).[25]

Under Todd

Meet the Press logo used from May 2, 2010 (introduced under former moderator David Gregory) to November 5, 2017.
Meet the Press logo used from November 5, 2017 to September 10, 2023.
Senator Chris Murphy on Meet the Press
U.S. President Barack Obama participates in an interview with Todd in the Cabinet Room of the White House, September 6, 2014.

In response to declining viewership, rumors surfaced in August 2014 that Gregory would be replaced as the program's moderator. NBC News President Deborah Turness apparently had held discussions with Jon Stewart (then-host of Comedy Central's news comedy program The Daily Show) to replace Gregory,[26] which Stewart later confirmed in a Rolling Stone interview, saying, "My guess is they were casting as wide and as weird a net as they could. I'm sure part of them was thinking, 'Why don't we just make it a variety show?'"[27]

On August 14, 2014, Turness announced that Chuck Todd, NBC's chief White House correspondent, would take over the role of moderator on September 7, 2014.[28] Because of Todd's fanhood, a Los Angeles Dodgers poster became part of the physical format.

Meet the Press Now

On September 28, 2015, MSNBC premiered MTP Daily, a weekday spin-off also hosted by Todd. It formally replaced The Ed Show as MSNBC's early-evening program after a transitional period following its cancellation. MSNBC explained that the program is meant to "bring the insight and power of Meet the Press to our air every day of the week".[29] By 2022, the show was airing in the 1 PM Eastern slot, and in May it was announced that the show would be moving from MSNBC to the free streaming platform NBC News NOW, and rechristened Meet the Press Now, starting June 6. The show also returned to an early evening slot of 4PM Eastern.[30]

Disinformation overtaking media

In a December 2019 interview with Rolling Stone, Todd discussed how disinformation overtook the media during the Trump administration.[31] However, PressThink, a project of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University, took Todd to task for failing to address the issue as it unfolded,[32] in a very detailed discussion of Todd's remarks.

Under Welker

On June 4, 2023, Todd announced he would be leaving his role as moderator. Kristen Welker was named as his replacement beginning in September.[33]

High-definition broadcasting

The set utilized from March 17, 1996, to April 25, 2010,[34] had been designed as an experimental set for high-definition broadcasting; several editions of the program (including the first broadcast of a regular series on a major television network in HD) had aired in the format in the 1990s over experimental HD station WHD-TV in Washington, D.C.[35] Despite this, the program continued to be transmitted in NTSC over the NBC network itself. On May 2, 2010, Meet the Press became the last NBC News program to convert to high definition, and unveiled a new set consisting of large video screens mostly used to display Washington scenery, satellite interview subjects and moderator and subject talking points, along with graphics produced for the format.[36]

In January 2021, production of the program moved from WRC-TV facilities in Tenleytown to a ground floor studio in NBC's new Washington D.C. bureau on Capitol Hill.[5] The move included a new set.[37]


The following is the list of moderators for Meet the Press:[1]

Moderator Date
Martha Rountree 1947–1953
Ned Brooks 1953–1965
Lawrence Spivak 1966–1975
Bill Monroe 1975–1984
Roger Mudd and Marvin Kalb (co-moderators) 1984–1985
Marvin Kalb 1985–1987
Chris Wallace 1987–1988
Garrick Utley 1989–1991
Tim Russert 1991–2008
Tom Brokaw 2008
David Gregory 2008–2014
Chuck Todd 2014–2023
Kristen Welker 2023–

Notable guests and events

Whittaker Chambers's very first answer on the August 27, 1948, episode helped move Meet the Press from radio to television


In addition to its broadcasts on NBC, Meet the Press also airs on various other NBCUniversal-owned channels domestically and internationally, including MSNBC, NBC News Now, CNBC Europe in Europe and CNBC Asia in Asia. It is also broadcast in Australia on the Seven Network and in the Philippines on 9TV.

Meet the Press is also available as an audio or video podcast,[40] and is simulcast on radio stations by Westwood One (which also handles distribution of all other NBC-produced radio programming, including NBC News Radio).[41]

See also

References and footnotes

  1. ^ a b c d "60th anniversary background information". Archived from the original on 2007-11-21.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Martha Rountree: Radio/Television Producer, Writer, Host". Paley Center for Media. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.
  3. ^ "Meet the Press - Credits". NBCUniversal. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  4. ^ "The Sounds of War". Slate. April 2003.
  5. ^ a b c Johnson, Ted (25 January 2021). "NBCU Debuts New Washington Bureau And Studios". Deadline. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  6. ^ "Meet the Press: Cast & Details". TV Guide. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  7. ^ "About Meet The Press". MSNBC. Archived from the original on February 3, 2004. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  8. ^ a b "Meet the Press: U.S. Public Affairs/Interview". Museum of Broadcast Communications. Archived from the original on September 25, 2012.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Ball, Rick (1998). Meet the Press: Fifty Years of History in the Making. McGraw Hill. pp. 12 (Farley), 14-15 (Chambers), 15-17 (Bentley), 51-53 (Castro), 67-68 (JFK) 92 (MLK), 167 (satellite). Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  10. ^ David Paul Kuhn (2008-06-13). "Memorable Tim Russert moments". Politico. Retrieved 2008-06-14.
  11. ^ "60 Years Ago in News History: America Meets the Press". Newseum. Archived from the original on November 17, 2008.
  12. ^ "American Mercury Sold to L. E. Spivak". The New York Times. January 23, 1935. Retrieved 2017-08-02.
  13. ^ Jay, Robert (7 November 2017). "WNBT Schedule, Week of November 2nd, 1947". TV Obscurities. Robert Jay. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  14. ^ "Fast facts about the longest-running program in TV history". Archived from the original on 2007-11-21.
  15. ^ "In the Hot Seat". The Washington Post. May 23, 2004. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
  16. ^ "Tim Russert's Commencement Address – CUA Office of Public Affairs".
  17. ^ "Tim Russert hits ratings milestone". USA Today. April 24, 2006.
  18. ^ Jill Lawrence (June 14, 2008). "NBC's Tim Russert dead at 58". USA Today. Retrieved December 14, 2008.
  19. ^ "NBC remembers Russert on first 'Meet the Press' since his death". June 15, 2008. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  20. ^ "June 22: Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), political roundtable". NBC News. June 22, 2008.
  21. ^ "NBC's Tom Brokaw to moderate 'Meet the Press' through election". NBC News. Retrieved June 22, 2008.
  22. ^ Mike Allen (December 1, 2008). "Gregory to host 'Meet the Press'". Politico.
  23. ^ "NBC's 'Meet The Press' hits historic lows in the final quarter of 2013". Politico. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  24. ^ Claire Atkinson (December 21, 2013). "C staff irked as NBC News eyes cuts". New York Post. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
  25. ^ Mike Allen (December 2, 2008). "Gregory to host 'Meet the Press'". Politico. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  26. ^ Gabriel Sherman (October 8, 2014). "NBC Wanted to Hire Jon Stewart to Host Meet the Press". New York Daily Intelligencer. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  27. ^ Andy Greene (October 30, 2014). "Jon Stewart on 'Meet The Press' Offer: 'They Were Casting a Wide and Weird Net'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  28. ^ "Chuck Todd Takes Helm of 'Meet the Press'". NBC News. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  29. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (September 29, 2015). "Chuck Todd's 'MTP Daily' Debut Clocks 483K Viewers". Deadline. Archived from the original on June 15, 2017. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  30. ^ Johnson, Ted (May 6, 2022). "Chuck Todd's 'Meet The Press Daily' To Move From MSNBC To Streaming Platform NBC News Now". Deadline. Retrieved May 6, 2022.
  31. ^ Wade, Peter (20 December 2019). "How Disinformation Spreads, According to Chuck Todd". Rolling Stone.
  32. ^ Rosen, Jay (26 December 2019). "The Christmas Eve Confessions of Chuck Todd". PressThink.
  33. ^ "Chuck Todd will depart 'Meet the Press.' Kristen Welker will be the next host". NBC News. 2023-06-04. Retrieved 2023-06-04.
  34. ^ "Meet the Press reflects on set change". Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  35. ^ Hilliard, Robert L; Keith, Michael C (February 18, 2010). The Broadcast Century and Beyond: A Biography of American Broadcasting. Focal Press. ISBN 978-0240812366. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  36. ^ "Sunday, May 2: 'Meet the Press' to broadcast in HD, debut a new set". NBC News. May 2, 2010.
  37. ^ Hill, Michael P. (25 January 2021). "New 'Meet the Press' studio pays tribute to heart of democracy, free exchange of ideas". NewscastStudio. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  38. ^ Harris, Jay S., ed. (1978). TV Guide: The First 25 Years. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 44. ISBN 0671230654.
  39. ^ "Dec. 25 – Looking back at 75 years of 'Meet the Press'". NBC News. National Broadcasting Company. Retrieved 25 December 2022.
  40. ^ "Free audio and video downloaded to your PC or portable player". Archived from the original on 2005-07-14.
  41. ^ "Meet the Press". Dial Global. Archived from the original on March 15, 2012.

External links

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