Meet the Press

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This article is about the American public affairs program. For the Australian program, see Meet the Press (Australian TV program).
Meet the Press
Meet the Press.png
Created by Martha Rountree[1][2]
Lawrence E. Spivak[1]
Directed by Rob Melick[3]
Presented by Chuck Todd (2014–present)
Narrated by Fred Facey (1984–2008)
Bert Pence (2008–present)
Theme music composer John Williams
Opening theme "The Pulse of Events"[4] (fourth part of The Mission)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 66
No. of episodes 5,100 (as of May 18, 2014)
Executive producer(s) Betsy Fischer Martin (2002–2012)[3]
Robert Myers Yarin (2013–present)
Producer(s) Adam Verdugo
(Senior Producer)[3]
Chris Donovan[3]
Location(s) Washington, D.C.
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 1992–present:
52 minutes
30 minutes w/commercials
Original channel NBC
Picture format 480i (4:3 SDTV) (1947–2010)
720p (4:3 SDTV) (1996–2010)
1080i (16:9 HDTV) (2010–present)
Audio format stereophonic
Original run November 6, 1947 – present
External links

Meet the Press[5][6] is a weekly American television news/interview program airing on NBC and hosted by Chuck Todd. It is the longest-running television series in American broadcasting history, though the current format bears little resemblance to the original that debuted on November 6, 1947.[7] Under host Tim Russert, Meet the Press was the highest-rated of the American television Sunday morning talk shows in 2006.[8] As of the end of 2013, it was struggling in the ratings and ranked third, with NBC management uncertain as to the future direction of the series.[9]

The show has been hosted by 12 different moderators, beginning with Martha Rountree. Chuck Todd became the current moderator in September 2014, replacing David Gregory, who left the network in August 2014.[10] The show began using a new set on May 2, 2010, with video screens and a library-style set with bookshelves, and different, modified intro music, with David Gregory previewing the guests using a large video screen, and 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).[11] Meet the Press and similar shows specialize in interviewing national leaders on issues of politics, economics, foreign policy and other public affairs.

Over the past few years, the program's usual time slot over the NBC network is from 9 to 10 a.m. local time in most markets, though this may vary by markets due to commitments by affiliates to religious, E/I or local news, paid and public affairs programming. It also varies several weeks in the summer due to morning coverage of French Open tennis or the Monaco Grand Prix by NBC Sports. In earlier years, the program would air at noon every Sunday. The program also re-airs Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. ET and early Mondays at 4 a.m. ET on MSNBC (and also over the audio simulcast of MSNBC on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio), along with an early Monday morning replay as part of NBC's "All Night" lineup. The program is also distributed to radio stations via syndication by Westwood One and aired as part of C-SPAN Radio's replay of the Sunday morning talk shows.

The longevity of Meet the Press is illustrated when one considers 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 show'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 Congress 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.[12]

Occasionally, a final segment called "The Meet the Press Minute" airs. It is devoted to topical clips from the show's extensive archives.


Meet the Press originates on NBC in the United States, with additional telecasts on various other NBCUniversal channels, including MSNBC 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,[13] and is simulcast on radio stations by Westwood One (which also handles distribution of all other NBC-produced radio programming, including NBC News Radio).[14]


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

Martha Rountree 1947–1953
Ned Brooks 1953–1965
Lawrence E. Spivak 1966–1975
Bill Monroe 1975–1984
Roger Mudd and Marvin Kalb
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


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

Meet the Press began on radio in 1945 as American Mercury Presents: Meet the Press,[15] a program to promote The American Mercury, a magazine that Lawrence E. Spivak had purchased in 1939. Before the program aired, Spivak asked journalist Martha Rountree, who had worked in radio and had worked for 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.[2]

On November 6, 1947, while still on the Mutual Broadcasting System, the show was subsequently reincarnated on the NBC television network and 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,[1][16] 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. Its first host was its creator Martha Rountree, the program's only female moderator to date.[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, 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.

Under Russert[edit]

The logo used from September 10, 1995 to June 2008.
Russert interviews General Peter Pace in 2006.

Network officials, concerned for the show's future, turned to Tim Russert, the network's Washington, D.C., bureau chief. He took over on December 8, 1991, and remained until his death on June 13, 2008, serving as moderator longer than anyone else in the program's history.[17]

Under Russert, the show was expanded to one hour and became less of a televised press conference and more focused on Russert's questions and comments, with longer interviews and with Russert hosting panels of experts. Russert signed off by saying, "That's all for today. We'll be back next week. If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press." Host David Gregory also used that sign-off.

During the football season, Russert, a native of Buffalo, New York and an avid Buffalo Bills fan,[18][19] sometimes added, "Go Bills!", and occasionally would ask panelists, "How 'bout those Sabres?" if the Buffalo NHL hockey team was doing well. Spoofs of the show on Saturday Night Live often reflect this addition.

Russert died on June 13, 2008, of a sudden coronary thrombosis (caused by a cholesterol plaque rupture).[20] 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.[21]

Guest moderators[edit]

After Russert[edit]

Mark Whitaker was named the Washington D.C. Bureau Chief and was given "executive oversight" of Meet the Press.

Interim Brokaw era[edit]

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.[23]

Following Russert's death, Tom Brokaw was named the interim moderator through the 2008 general elections.[24] 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." In September of that year, the show was presented with limited commercials.

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 Olympics in Beijing. The next week on August 17, he moderated the entire show. It was also reported on December 1, 2008, that the December 7 broadcast would be Brokaw's last, with David Gregory becoming the new permanent host the following Sunday.[25]

Under Gregory[edit]

David Gregory began his tenure as moderator on December 14, 2008. On December 18, 2008, NBC News political director Chuck Todd was named contributing editor of Meet the Press. Under Gregory's tenure as moderator, Meet the Press has significantly declined in ratings since 2008. In the final three months of 2013, the program came in third place for total viewers behind CBS's Face the Nation and ABC's This Week for the first time since 1992 and experienced the lowest ratings in the show's entire history among the key 25-to-54 age viewing demographic.[26]

In response to lower viewership numbers, rumors surfaced in August 2014 that Gregory would be replaced as host. NBC News President Deborah Turness apparently had held discussions with Comedy Central's Jon Stewart to replace Gregory,[27] 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?'"[28]

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.[10]

High-definition broadcasting[edit]

The set utilized from March 17, 1996 to April 25, 2010[29] had been designed as an experimental set for high-definition broadcasting and several editions of the series (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.[30] Despite this, the show remained in 480i standard definition television over the NBC network itself. On May 2, 2010 the show became the last NBC News program to convert to HD, 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 made for the format.[31]

Locations (outside of D.C. studios)[edit]

Notable guests and events[edit]

The following is a partial list of notable guests and milestones for the show.[1]

See also[edit]

References and footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e 60th anniversary background information from
  2. ^ a b c d e Martha Rountree: Radio/Television Producer, Writer, Host from, a Paley Center for Media website
  3. ^ a b c d About Meet the Press
  4. ^ The Sounds of War, an April 2003 article from Slate
  5. ^ "Meet the Press: Cast & Details". TV Guide. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  6. ^ "About Meet The Press". Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  7. ^ Meet the Press: U.S. Public Affairs/Interview/ Museum of Broadcast Communications[dead link]
  8. ^ Tim Russert hits ratings milestone -
  9. ^ Atkinson, Claire (21 December 2013). "C staff irked as NBC News eyes cuts". New York Post. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Chuck Todd Takes Helm of 'Meet the Press'". NBC News. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  11. ^ Mike Allen (2 December 2008). "Gregory to host 'Meet the Press'". Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  12. ^ David Paul Kuhn (2008-06-13). "Memorable Tim Russert moments". Politico. Retrieved 2008-06-14. 
  13. ^ Free audio and video downloaded to your PC or portable player from
  14. ^ Meet the Press from Dial Global
  15. ^ "60 Years Ago in News History: America Meets the Press". Newseum. Archived from the original on August 8, 2007. 
  16. ^ Meet the Press: U.S. Public Affairs/Interview from the Museum of Broadcast Communications
  17. ^ Fast facts about the longest-running program in TV history - Meet the Press, online at MSNBC -
  18. ^ "In the Hot Seat". The Washington Post. May 23, 2004. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  19. ^ Tim Russert's Commencement Address - CUA Office of Public Affairs
  20. ^ Lawrence, Jill (June 14, 2008). "NBC's Tim Russert dead at 58". USA Today. Retrieved December 14, 2008. 
  21. ^ "NBC remembers Russert on first 'Meet the Press' since his death". June 15, 2008. Retrieved December 14, 2014. 
  22. ^ Transcript for August 15 - Meet the Press -
  23. ^ June 22: Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), political roundtable - Meet the Press, online at MSNBC -
  24. ^ "NBC's Tom Brokaw to moderate 'Meet the Press' through election". Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  25. ^ Gregory to host 'Meet the Press' - Mike Allen -
  26. ^ "NBC's 'Meet The Press' hits historic lows in the final quarter of 2013". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  27. ^ Sherman, Gabriel (October 8, 2014). "NBC Wanted to Hire Jon Stewart to Host Meet the Press". New York Magazine Daily Intelligencer. Retrieved December 14, 2014. 
  28. ^ Greene, Andy (October 30, 2014). "Jon Stewart on 'Meet The Press' Offer: 'They Were Casting a Wide and Weird Net'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 14, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Meet the Press reflects on set change - Video on". Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  30. ^ [1][dead link]
  31. ^ Sunday, May 2: 'Meet the Press' to broadcast in HD, debut a new set - Meet the Press -
  32. ^ "THE DEMOCRATS IN ATLANTA; Today's Schedule". The New York Times. 17 July 1988. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  33. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  34. ^ January 18, 2004 - Meet the Press -
  35. ^ January 25, 2004 - Meet the Press -
  36. ^ February 1, 2004 - Meet the Press -
  37. ^ February 8, 2004 - Meet the Press -
  38. ^ Transcript for July 25 - Meet the Press -
  39. ^ Transcript for August 29 - Meet the Press -
  40. ^ Transcript for October 31 - Meet the Press -
  41. ^ MTP transcript for Oct. 7, 2007 - Meet the Press -
  42. ^ MTP transcript for Nov. 11, 2007 - Meet the Press -
  43. ^ Dec. 30: Mike Huckabee, Barack Obama — Meet the Press -
  44. ^ Jan. 13: Hillary Clinton - Meet the Press -
  45. ^ Jan. 20: Political roundtable - Meet the Press -
  46. ^ Jan. 27: John McCain, political roundtable - Meet the Press -
  47. ^ June 29: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA), Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D-WY), Gov. Bill Ritter (D-CO), Chuck Todd - Meet the Press -
  48. ^ June 29: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA), Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D-WY), Gov. Bill Ritter (D-CO), Chuck Todd - Meet the Press -
  49. ^ July 27: Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) - Meet the Press -
  50. ^ Aug. 10: Henry Paulson, political roundtable - Meet the Press -
  51. ^ Aug. 24: Caroline Kennedy, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), political roundtable - Meet the Press -
  52. ^ Aug. 31: Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), political roundtable - Meet the Press -
  53. ^ BEHIND THE SCENES: KWWL will host "Meet the Press" this Sunday - - News & Weather for Waterloo, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids & Iowa City, Iowa |
  54. ^ Dec. 7: President-elect Barack Obama - Meet the Press -
  55. ^ " Video Player". MSNBC. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 

External links[edit]