Meet the Press

Meet the Press[6][7] is a weekly American television news/interview program broadcast on the network 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.[8] 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. (WRC-TV).

Meet the Press
Also known asMeet the Press with Chuck Todd
GenrePublic affairs/news analysis program
Created byMartha Rountree[1][2]
Lawrence E. Spivak[1]
Directed byRob Melick[3]
Presented byChuck Todd
(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 language(s)English
No. of seasons70
No. of episodes3,600+ [weekly] [5]
Executive producer(s)John Reiss
Production location(s)NBC News Washington Bureau, Washington, D.C.
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time30 minutes (1947–1992)
52 minutes (1992–present)
Production company(s)NBC News Productions
Original networkNBC
Picture format480i (4:3 SDTV)
720p (4:3 SDTV)
1080i (16:9 HDTV)
Original releaseNovember 6, 1947 (1947-11-06) 
External links

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 the November 9, 1975 broadcast, which featured Gerald Ford.

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.[9]

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.[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 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 E. Spivak purchased in 1935.[12] 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][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. 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

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.[13]

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,[14][15] 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.[16]

Russert died on June 13, 2008, of a sudden coronary thrombosis (caused by a cholesterol plaque rupture).[17] 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.[18]

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, 2008 tribute to Russert, 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 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, 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. It was also reported on December 1, 2008, that the December 7, 2008 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; 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).[25]

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 (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.[9]

MTP Daily

On September 28, 2015, MSNBC premiered MTP Daily, a new 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".[28]

High-definition broadcasting

The set utilized from March 17, 1996 to April 25, 2010,[29] 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.[30] 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.[31]


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

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

Date Location Event/Reason
July 17, 1988Atlanta, Georgia1988 Democratic National Convention[32]
August 14, 1988New Orleans, Louisiana1988 Republican National Convention
December 3, 1989MaltaMalta Summit
July 16, 1989Paris, FranceG7
September 9, 1990Helsinki, FinlandHelsinki summit
July 12, 1992New York City, New York1992 Democratic National Convention
August 16, 1992Houston, Texas1992 Republican National Convention
April 4, 1993Vancouver, British Columbia, CanadaClinton–Yeltsin summit
January 30, 1994Atlanta, GeorgiaSuper Bowl XXVIII at the Georgia Dome[33]
September 16, 2001Camp DavidInterview with Dick Cheney in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks
January 18, 2004Des Moines, Iowa24 hours before the Iowa caucuses[34]
January 25, 2004Bedford, New Hampshire48 hours before the New Hampshire primary[35]
February 1, 2004Milwaukee, WisconsinInterview with Howard Dean[36]
February 8, 2004Oval OfficeInterview with George W. Bush[37]
July 25, 2004Boston, Massachusetts2004 Democratic National Convention[38]
August 29, 2004New York City, New York2004 Republican National Convention[39]
October 31, 2004New York City, New YorkTwo days before the U.S. presidential election[40]
October 8, 2007Des Moines, IowaInterview with John Edwards[41]
November 11, 2007Des Moines, IowaInterview with Barack Obama[42]
December 30, 2007Des Moines, IowaInterview with Mike Huckabee, two days before the 2008 Iowa caucuses[43]
January 6, 2008Bedford, New HampshireTwo days before the New Hampshire primaries
January 13, 2008South CarolinaInterview with Hillary Clinton during her 2008 presidential campaign[44]
January 20, 2008New York City, New YorkRoundtable discussion[45]
January 27, 2008Tampa, Florida[46]
June 29, 2008Jackson Hole, WyomingWestern Governors' Association annual meeting[47] and Simi Valley, California (Reagan Library)[48]
July 27, 2008London, EnglandBarack Obama's overseas trip[49]
August 10, 2008Beijing, China2008 Beijing Olympics[50]
August 24, 2008Denver, Colorado2008 Democratic National Convention[51]
August 31, 2008Saint Paul, Minnesota2008 Republican National Convention[52]
September 7, 2008Wilmington, DelawareSenator Joe Biden appears on the show
October 26, 2008Waterloo, IowaJohn McCain's campaign stop[53]
December 7, 2008Chicago, IllinoisInterview with president-elect Barack Obama; while taped in Chicago, Brokaw introduced and ended the show in D.C.[54]
June 14, 2009Wilmington, DelawareVice President Joe Biden appears on the show
August 29, 2010New Orleans, LouisianaSpecial broadcast five years after Hurricane Katrina, moderated by Brian Williams
January 1, 2012Des Moines, IowaInterview with Rick Santorum, two days before the 2012 Iowa caucuses[55]
January 8, 2012Bedford, New HampshireTwo days before the New Hampshire primaries
November 2, 2014New York City, New YorkTwo days before midterm elections
January 31, 2016Des Moines, Iowa24 hours before the Iowa caucuses[56]

Notable guests and events

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


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,[58] and is simulcast on radio stations by Westwood One (which also handles distribution of all other NBC-produced radio programming, including NBC News Radio).[59]

See also

References and footnotes

  1. "60th anniversary background information". Archived from the original on 2007-11-21.
  2. "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. (as of 2017)
  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. "Meet the Press: U.S. Public Affairs/Interview". Museum of Broadcast Communications. Archived from the original on September 25, 2012.
  9. "Chuck Todd Takes Helm of 'Meet the Press'". NBC News. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  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. "Fast facts about the longest-running program in TV history". Archived from the original on 2007-11-21.
  14. "In the Hot Seat". The Washington Post. May 23, 2004. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
  15. "Tim Russert's Commencement Address – CUA Office of Public Affairs".
  16. "Tim Russert hits ratings milestone". USA Today. April 24, 2006.
  17. Jill Lawrence (June 14, 2008). "NBC's Tim Russert dead at 58". USA Today. Retrieved December 14, 2008.
  18. "NBC remembers Russert on first 'Meet the Press' since his death". June 15, 2008. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  19. "Transcript for August 15 – Meet the Press". NBC News. August 15, 2004.
  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 Magazine 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. de Moraes, Lisa (September 29, 2015). "Chuck Todd's 'MTP Daily' Debut Clocks 483K Viewers". Archived from the original on June 15, 2017. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  29. "Meet the Press reflects on set change". Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  30. 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.
  31. "Sunday, May 2: 'Meet the Press' to broadcast in HD, debut a new set". NBC News. May 2, 2010.
  32. "THE DEMOCRATS IN ATLANTA; Today's Schedule". The New York Times. July 17, 1988. Retrieved November 3, 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  33. Tim O’Shei (August 1999). "Tim Russert: Sharing Buffalo with America – Part II". Living Primetime.
  34. "January 18, 2004 – Meet the Press". NBC News. January 18, 2004.
  35. "January 25, 2004 – Meet the Press". NBC News. January 25, 2004.
  36. "February 1, 2004 – Meet the Press". NBC News. February 1, 2004.
  37. "February 8, 2004 – Meet the Press". NBC News. February 8, 2004.
  38. "Transcript for July 25 – Meet the Press". NBC News. July 25, 2004.
  39. "Transcript for August 29 – Meet the Press". NBC News. August 29, 2004.
  40. "Transcript for October 31 – Meet the Press". NBC News. October 31, 2004.
  41. "MTP transcript for Oct. 7, 2007 – Meet the Press". NBC News. October 7, 2007.
  42. "MTP transcript for Nov. 11, 2007 – Meet the Press". NBC News. November 11, 2007.
  43. "Dec. 30: Mike Huckabee, Barack Obama: Meet the Press". NBC News. December 30, 2007.
  44. "Jan. 13: Hillary Clinton – Meet the Press". NBC News. January 13, 2008.
  45. "Jan. 20: Political roundtable – Meet the Press". NBC News. January 20, 2008.
  46. "Jan. 27: John McCain, political roundtable – Meet the Press". NBC News. January 27, 2008.
  47. "June 29: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA), Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D-WY), Gov. Bill Ritter (D-CO), Chuck Todd – Meet the Press". NBC News. June 29, 2008.
  48. "June 29: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA), Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D-WY), Gov. Bill Ritter (D-CO), Chuck Todd – Meet the Press". NBC News. June 29, 2008.
  49. "July 27: Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) – Meet the Press". NBC News. July 27, 2008.
  50. "Aug. 10: Henry Paulson, political roundtable – Meet the Press". NBC News. August 10, 2008.
  51. "Aug. 24: Caroline Kennedy, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), political roundtable – Meet the Press". NBC News. August 24, 2008.
  52. "Aug. 31: Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), political roundtable – Meet the Press". NBC News. August 31, 2008.
  53. "BEHIND THE SCENES: KWWL will host "Meet the Press" this Sunday". KWWL.
  54. "Dec. 7: President-elect Barack Obama – Meet the Press". NBC News. December 7, 2008.
  55. " Video Player". NBC News. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  56. "January 31, 2016 – Meet the Press". January 31, 2016.
  57. Harris, Jay S. (editor) (1978). TV Guide: The First 25 Years. New York: New American Library. p. 44. ISBN 0-452-25225-3.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  58. "Free audio and video downloaded to your PC or portable player". Archived from the original on 2005-07-14.
  59. "Meet the Press". Dial Global. Archived from the original on March 15, 2012.
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