Meet the Press

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Meet the Press [16] [17] is a weekly American television news/interview program broadcast on NBC. It is the longest-running program in television history, though the current format bears little resemblance to the debut episode on November 6, 1947. [19] Meet the Press specializes in interviews with leaders in Washington, D.C., across the country and even the world on issues of politics, economics, foreign policy and other public affairs, along with panel discussions that provide opinions and analysis. It originates from NBC's bureau in Washington, D.C.

The longevity of Meet the Press can be illustrated in consideration of the fact that the program debuted during what was only the second official "network television season" for American television. One historical landmark of the program is that it was the first on which a sitting U.S. President, Gerald Ford, appeared on a live television network news program, which occurred on the November 9, 1975 broadcast.

The program has been hosted by 12 different moderators to date, beginning with creator Martha Rountree. The show's moderator since 2014 is Chuck Todd, who also serves as political director for NBC News. [20]

Currently, the hour-long program airs in most markets on Sundays at 9:00 a.m. live in the Eastern Time Zone and on tape delay elsewhere. Meet the Press is also occasionally pre-empted due to network coverage of sports events held outside the U.S. The program is also rebroadcast on Sundays at 2:00 p.m., and Mondays at 2:00 a.m. and sometimes 4:00 a.m. Eastern Time on MSNBC, whose audio feed is also simulcast on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. The program is also syndicated by Westwood One to various radio stations around the United States, as well as 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. Originally a half-hour program for most of its history, the show expanded to 60 minutes starting with the September 20, 1992, broadcast. [21]

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 began on radio on the Mutual Broadcasting System in 1945 as American Mercury Presents: Meet the Press, [23] a program to promote The American Mercury, a magazine that Lawrence E. Spivak purchased in 1935. [24] Before the program aired, Spivak asked journalist Martha Rountree, who had worked in radio and had been employed by Spivak as a roving editor for the magazine, to critique the plans for the new radio show. Based on her advice, Rountree created a new radio program that she called The American Mercury, on October 5, 1945. [13]

On November 6, 1947, while still on the Mutual Broadcasting System, the television rights to the program were purchased by General Foods which began to air the show on the NBC television network with the title shortened to simply Meet the Press; the radio version also adopted the new name. Although some sources credit Spivak with the program's creation, [11] [19] 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. [13]

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. Creator Rountree served as its first host, the program's only female moderator to date. [13] She stepped down on November 1, 1953, and was succeeded by Ned Brooks, who remained as moderator until his retirement on December 26, 1965. [13] 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, for the first time, a sitting president, Gerald Ford, as guest. 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 to 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.

Under Russert

Meet the Press logo used from September 10, 1995 to June 2008.

Network officials, concerned for the show's future, turned to Tim Russert, the network's Washington, D.C., bureau chief. 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.

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, [25] [26] 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. [27]

Russert died on June 13, 2008, of a sudden coronary thrombosis (caused by a cholesterol plaque rupture). [28] 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. [29]

Guest moderators

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 June 15 tribute to Russert, with the same guests and subject matter that Russert was planning for when he died. [31]

Following Russert's death, Tom Brokaw was named the interim moderator through the 2008 general elections. [32] 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 would continue to be used by his successors as moderator). In September of that year, the show was presented with limited commercial interruption.

On August 10, 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, he moderated the entire broadcast. It was also reported on December 1, 2008, that the December 7 broadcast would be Brokaw's last, with Gregory becoming the new permanent host the following Sunday. [33]

Under Gregory

David Gregory began his tenure as moderator on December 14, 2008. Four days after Gregory's first regular broadcast, on December 18, 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. [34] NBC management became uncertain as to the future direction of the program. [35]

A new set was introduced on May 2, 2010, featuring video screens and library-style bookshelves; David 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).

Transition to Todd

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 (host of Comedy Central's satirical news program The Daily Show) to replace Gregory, [36] 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 ? ' " [37]

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. [20]

Meet the Press Daily

On September 28, 2015, Meet the Press Daily, hosted by Chuck Todd, debuted on MSNBC. [39]

High-definition broadcasting

The set utilized from March 17, 1996, to April 25, 2010, [40] 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. [41] Despite this, the program continued to be transmitted in 480i standard definition 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. [42]


The following is the list of moderators for Meet the Press: [11]

Martha Rountree 1947–1953
Ned Brooks 1953–1965
Lawrence E. 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–present

On-remote broadcasts (outside D.C. studios)

Date Location Event/Reason
July 17, 1988 Atlanta, Georgia 1988 Democratic National Convention [43]
August 14, 1988 New Orleans, Louisiana 1988 Republican National Convention
December 3, 1989 Malta Malta Summit
July 16, 1989 Paris, France G7
September 9, 1990 Helsinki, Finland Helsinki summit
July 12, 1992 New York City, New York 1992 Democratic National Convention
August 16, 1992 Houston, Texas 1992 Republican National Convention
April 4, 1993 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Clinton–Yeltsin summit
January 30, 1994 Atlanta, Georgia Super Bowl XXVIII at the Georgia Dome [44]
September 16, 2001 Camp David Interview with Dick Cheney in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks
January 18, 2004 Des Moines, Iowa 24 hours before the Iowa caucuses [45]
January 25, 2004 Bedford, New Hampshire 48 hours before the New Hampshire primary [46]
February 1, 2004 Milwaukee, Wisconsin Interview with Howard Dean [47]
February 8, 2004 Oval Office Interview with George W. Bush [48]
July 25, 2004 Boston, Massachusetts 2004 Democratic National Convention [49]
August 29, 2004 New York City, New York 2004 Republican National Convention [50]
October 31, 2004 New York City, New York Two days before the U.S. presidential election [51]
October 8, 2007 Des Moines, Iowa Interview with John Edwards [15]
November 11, 2007 Des Moines, Iowa Interview with Barack Obama [15]
December 30, 2007 Des Moines, Iowa Interview with Mike Huckabee, two days before the 2008 Iowa caucuses [15]
January 6, 2008 Bedford, New Hampshire Two days before the New Hampshire primaries
January 13, 2008 South Carolina Interview with Hillary Clinton during her 2008 presidential campaign [15]
January 20, 2008 New York City, New York Roundtable discussion [15]
January 27, 2008 Tampa, Florida [15]
June 29, 2008 Jackson Hole, Wyoming Western Governors' Association annual meeting [15] and Simi Valley, California (Reagan Library) [15]
July 27, 2008 London, England Barack Obama's overseas trip [15]
August 10, 2008 Beijing, China 2008 Beijing Olympics [15]
August 24, 2008 Denver, Colorado 2008 Democratic National Convention [16]
August 31, 2008 Saint Paul, Minnesota 2008 Republican National Convention [16]
September 7, 2008 Wilmington, Delaware Senator Joe Biden appears on the show
October 26, 2008 Waterloo, Iowa John McCain's campaign stop [16]
December 7, 2008 Chicago, Illinois Interview with president-elect Barack Obama; while taped in Chicago, Brokaw introduced and ended the show in D.C. [16]
June 14, 2009 Wilmington, Delaware Vice President Joe Biden appears on the show
August 29, 2010 New Orleans, Louisiana Special broadcast five years after Hurricane Katrina, moderated by Brian Williams
January 1, 2012 Des Moines, Iowa Interview with Rick Santorum, two days before the 2012 Iowa caucuses [16]
January 8, 2012 Bedford, New Hampshire Two days before the New Hampshire primaries
November 2, 2014 New York City, New York Two days before midterm elections
January 31, 2016 Des Moines, Iowa 24 hours before the Iowa caucuses [16]

Notable guests and events

The following is a partial list of notable guests and milestones for the show. [11]


In addition to its broadcasts on NBC, Meet the Press also airs on various other NBCUniversal -owned channels domestically and internationally, including MSNBC, CNBC in the United States and Canada, 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, [16] and is simulcast on radio stations by Westwood One (which also handles distribution of all other NBC-produced radio programming, including NBC News Radio). [16]

See also

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