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
Genre Public affairs/news analysis program
Created by Martha Rountree[1][2]
Lawrence E. Spivak[1]
Directed by Rob Melick[3]
Presented by Chuck Todd (2014–present)
(for past moderators, see section)
Narrated by Fred Facey (1984–2003)
Bert Pence (2003–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)
Production
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) NBC News Washington Bureau, Washington, D.C.
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 30 minutes (1947–1992)
52 minutes (1992–present)
Production company(s) NBC News Productions
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Picture format 480i (4:3 SDTV)
(1947–2010)
720p (4:3 SDTV)
(1996–2010)
1080i (16:9 HDTV)
(2010–present)
Original run November 6, 1947 (1947-11-06) – present
External links
Website

Meet the Press[5][6] is a weekly American television news/interview program that is broadcast on NBC. It is the longest-running program in American television history, though its current format bears little resemblance to the one it debuted with on November 6, 1947.[7] Like similar shows that have followed it, Meet the Press specializes in interviews with national leaders on issues of politics, economics, foreign policy and other public affairs, along with panel discussions that provide opinions and analysis.

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 program has been hosted by 12 different moderators to date, beginning with creator Martha Rountree. Chuck Todd, who also currently serves as political director and chief White House correspondent for NBC News, became the current moderator in September 2014.[8]

Currently, the hour-long program airs in most markets at 9:00 a.m. (transmitted live-to-air in the Eastern Time Zone and on tape delay elsewhere), though its timeslot may vary depending on the market due to commitments by affiliate to air religious, educational or local news, paid and public affairs programming; Meet the Press is also occasionally pre-empted due to sports events held outside of the U.S. that necessitate live network coverage in the morning (such as the French Open tennis tournament or the Monaco Grand Prix). The program is also rebroadcast on Sundays at 2:00 p.m. and early Monday mornings at 4:00 a.m. Eastern Time on MSNBC (whose audio feed is also simulcast on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio), and on early Monday mornings as part of NBC's "All Night" lineup. 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.

Format[edit]

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.[9]

The program also features in-depth examinations of facts behind political and general news stories (particularly as part of a segment called the "Nerdscreen," introduced after Chuck Todd assumed duties as moderator, which is conducted on a touchscreen within the main set), as well as feature reports by the moderator or other NBC News correspondents centering on socioeconomic issues; general news stories of note that occurred the previous week are also discussed and reported. Occasionally, a final segment called "The Meet the Press Minute" airs, which is devoted to topical clips from the show's extensive archives.

History[edit]

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 on the Mutual Broadcasting System in 1945 as American Mercury Presents: Meet the Press,[10] 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 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.[2]

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,[1][11] 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. Creator Rountree served as its first host, 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. 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[edit]

Meet the Press 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 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.[12]

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 football season, Russert, a native of Buffalo, New York and an avid fan of the Buffalo Bills,[13][14] 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.[15]

Russert died on June 13, 2008, of a sudden coronary thrombosis (caused by a cholesterol plaque rupture).[16] 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.[17]

Guest moderators[edit]

After Russert[edit]

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[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.[19]

Following Russert's death, Tom Brokaw was named the interim moderator through the 2008 general elections.[20] 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.[21]

Under Gregory[edit]

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.[22] NBC management became uncertain as to the future direction of the program.[23]

A new set was introduced on May 2, 2010, featuring video screens and a library-style set with 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).[24]

Transition to Todd[edit]

President Barack Obama participates in an interview with Chuck Todd, new host of NBC's "Meet The Press" 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 (host of Comedy Central's satirical news program The Daily Show) to replace Gregory,[25] 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?'"[26]

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.[8]

High-definition broadcasting[edit]

The set utilized from March 17, 1996 to April 25, 2010[27] 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.[28] 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.[29]

Moderators[edit]

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
(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 of D.C. studios)[edit]

Date Location Event/Reason
July 17, 1988 Atlanta, Georgia 1988 Democratic National Convention[30]
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 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, Buffalo Bills went for and lost their fourth straight game; Russert publicly prayed on-air with his father[31]
September 16, 2001 Camp David Interview with then–Vice President Dick Cheney in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks
January 18, 2004 Des Moines, Iowa 24 hours before the Iowa caucuses[32]
January 25, 2004 Bedford, New Hampshire 48 hours before the New Hampshire primary[33]
February 1, 2004 Milwaukee, Wisconsin Interview with Howard Dean[34]
February 8, 2004 Oval Office Interview with then-President George W. Bush[35]
July 25, 2004 Boston, Massachusetts 2004 Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama made an appearance on the show as he was going to give the keynote address[36]
August 29, 2004 New York City, New York 2004 Republican National Convention[37]
October 31, 2004 New York City, New York Two days before the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election[38]
October 8, 2007 Des Moines, Iowa Interview with John Edwards[39]
November 11, 2007 Des Moines, Iowa Interview with Barack Obama[40]
December 30, 2007 Des Moines, Iowa Interview with Mike Huckabee, two days before the 2008 Iowa caucuses[41]
January 6, 2008 Bedford, New Hampshire Two days before the New Hampshire primaries
January 13, 2008 South Carolina Interview with Hillary Clinton during her presidential campaign[42]
January 20, 2008 New York City, New York Roundtable discussion[43]
January 27, 2008 Tampa, Florida[44]
June 29, 2008 Jackson Hole, Wyoming Western Governors' Association annual meeting[45] and Simi Valley, California (Reagan Library)[46]
July 27, 2008 London, England Barack Obama's overseas trip[47]
August 10, 2008 Beijing, China 2008 Beijing Olympics[48]
August 24, 2008 Denver, Colorado 2008 Democratic National Convention[49]
August 31, 2008 Saint Paul, Minnesota 2008 Republican National Convention[50]
September 7, 2008 Wilmington, Delaware Senator Joe Biden appears on the show
October 26, 2008 Waterloo, Iowa John McCain's campaign stop[51]
December 7, 2008 Chicago, Illinois Barack Obama's appearance on the show; while the show was taped in Chicago, Brokaw introduced and ended the show in D.C.[52]
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[53]
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

Notable guests and events[edit]

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

Distribution[edit]

In addition to its broadcasts on NBC, Meet the Press also airs on various other NBCUniversal-owned channels domestically and internationally, 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,[54] and is simulcast on radio stations by Westwood One (which also handles distribution of all other NBC-produced radio programming, including NBC News Radio).[55]

See also[edit]

References and footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "60th anniversary background information". msnbc.com. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Martha Rountree: Radio/Television Producer, Writer, Host". shemadeit.org. Paley Center for Media. 
  3. ^ a b c d About Meet the Press
  4. ^ "The Sounds of War". Slate. April 2003. 
  5. ^ "Meet the Press: Cast & Details". TV Guide. Retrieved December 30, 2008. 
  6. ^ "About Meet The Press". MSNBC.com. Retrieved December 30, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Meet the Press: U.S. Public Affairs/Interview". Museum of Broadcast Communications. [dead link]
  8. ^ a b "Chuck Todd Takes Helm of 'Meet the Press'". NBC News. Retrieved August 14, 2014. 
  9. ^ David Paul Kuhn (2008-06-13). "Memorable Tim Russert moments". Politico. Retrieved 2008-06-14. 
  10. ^ "60 Years Ago in News History: America Meets the Press". Newseum. Archived from the original on August 8, 2007. 
  11. ^ "Meet the Press: U.S. Public Affairs/Interview". Museum of Broadcast Communications. 
  12. ^ "Fast facts about the longest-running program in TV history". MSNBC.com. 
  13. ^ "In the Hot Seat". The Washington Post. May 23, 2004. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Tim Russert's Commencement Address - CUA Office of Public Affairs". 
  15. ^ "Tim Russert hits ratings milestone". USA Today. April 24, 2006. 
  16. ^ Jill Lawrence (June 14, 2008). "NBC's Tim Russert dead at 58". USA Today. Retrieved December 14, 2008. 
  17. ^ "NBC remembers Russert on first 'Meet the Press' since his death". CNN.com/US. June 15, 2008. Retrieved December 14, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Transcript for August 15 - Meet the Press". msnbc.com. August 15, 2004. 
  19. ^ "June 22: Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), political roundtable". MSNBC.com. June 22, 2008. 
  20. ^ "NBC's Tom Brokaw to moderate 'Meet the Press' through election". MSNBC.com. Retrieved June 22, 2008. 
  21. ^ Mike Allen (December 1, 2008). "Gregory to host 'Meet the Press'". Politico. 
  22. ^ "NBC's 'Meet The Press' hits historic lows in the final quarter of 2013". Politico. Retrieved August 14, 2014. 
  23. ^ Claire Atkinson (December 21, 2013). "C staff irked as NBC News eyes cuts". New York Post. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  24. ^ Mike Allen (December 2, 2008). "Gregory to host 'Meet the Press'". Politico. Retrieved December 30, 2008. 
  25. ^ Gabriel Sherman (October 8, 2014). "NBC Wanted to Hire Jon Stewart to Host Meet the Press". New York Magazine Daily Intelligencer. Retrieved December 14, 2014. 
  26. ^ 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. 
  27. ^ "Meet the Press reflects on set change". NBCNews.com. Retrieved August 14, 2014. 
  28. ^ [1][dead link]
  29. ^ "Sunday, May 2: 'Meet the Press' to broadcast in HD, debut a new set". msnbc.com. May 2, 2010. 
  30. ^ "THE DEMOCRATS IN ATLANTA; Today's Schedule". The New York Times. July 17, 1988. Retrieved November 3, 2013. 
  31. ^ Tim O’Shei (August 1999). "Tim Russert: Sharing Buffalo with America - Part II". Living Primetime. 
  32. ^ "January 18, 2004 - Meet the Press". msnbc.com. January 18, 2004. 
  33. ^ "January 25, 2004 - Meet the Press". msnbc.com. January 25, 2004. 
  34. ^ "February 1, 2004 - Meet the Press". msnbc.com. February 1, 2004. 
  35. ^ "February 8, 2004 - Meet the Press". msnbc.com. February 8, 2004. 
  36. ^ "Transcript for July 25 - Meet the Press". msnbc.com. July 25, 2004. 
  37. ^ "Transcript for August 29 - Meet the Press". msnbc.com. August 29, 2004. 
  38. ^ "Transcript for October 31 - Meet the Press". msnbc.com. October 31, 2004. 
  39. ^ "MTP transcript for Oct. 7, 2007 - Meet the Press". msnbc.com. October 7, 2007. 
  40. ^ "MTP transcript for Nov. 11, 2007 - Meet the Press". msnbc.com. November 11, 2007. 
  41. ^ "Dec. 30: Mike Huckabee, Barack Obama: Meet the Press". msnbc.com. December 30, 2007. 
  42. ^ "Jan. 13: Hillary Clinton - Meet the Press". msnbc.com. January 13, 2008. 
  43. ^ "Jan. 20: Political roundtable - Meet the Press". msnbc.com. January 20, 2008. 
  44. ^ "Jan. 27: John McCain, political roundtable - Meet the Press". msnbc.com. January 27, 2008. 
  45. ^ "June 29: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA), Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D-WY), Gov. Bill Ritter (D-CO), Chuck Todd - Meet the Press". msnbc.com. June 29, 2008. 
  46. ^ "June 29: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA), Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D-WY), Gov. Bill Ritter (D-CO), Chuck Todd - Meet the Press". msnbc.com. June 29, 2008. 
  47. ^ "July 27: Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) - Meet the Press". msnbc.com. July 27, 2008. 
  48. ^ "Aug. 10: Henry Paulson, political roundtable - Meet the Press". msnbc.com. August 10, 2008. 
  49. ^ "Aug. 24: Caroline Kennedy, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), political roundtable - Meet the Press". msnbc.com. August 24, 2008. 
  50. ^ "Aug. 31: Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), political roundtable - Meet the Press". msnbc.com. August 31, 2008. 
  51. ^ "BEHIND THE SCENES: KWWL will host "Meet the Press" this Sunday". KWWL. 
  52. ^ "Dec. 7: President-elect Barack Obama - Meet the Press". msnbc.com. December 7, 2008. 
  53. ^ "NBCNews.com Video Player". MSNBC. Retrieved August 14, 2014. 
  54. ^ "Free audio and video downloaded to your PC or portable player". msnbc.com. 
  55. ^ "Meet the Press". Dial Global. 

External links[edit]