Meet the Press 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. 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).
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 U.S. President 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.
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.
|Meet the Press|
|Also known as||Meet the Press with Chuck Todd|
|Genre||Public affairs/news analysis program|
|Created by||Martha Rountree|
Lawrence E. Spivak
|Directed by||Rob Melick|
|Presented by||Chuck Todd|
(for past moderators, see section)
|Narrated by||Fred Facey|
|Theme music composer||John Williams|
|Opening theme||"The Pulse of Events" (fourth part of The Mission)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||70|
|No. of episodes||3,600+ [weekly] |
|Executive producer(s)||John Reiss|
|Production location(s)||NBC News Washington Bureau, Washington, D.C.|
|Running time||30 minutes (1947–1992)|
52 minutes (1992–present)
|Production company(s)||NBC News Productions|
|Picture format||480i (4:3 SDTV)|
720p (4:3 SDTV)
1080i (16:9 HDTV)
|Original release||November 6, 1947 –|
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.
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, a program to promote The American Mercury, a magazine that Lawrence E. Spivak purchased in 1935. 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.
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, 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.
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. She stepped down on November 1, 1953, and was succeeded by Ned Brooks, who remained as moderator until his retirement on December 26, 1965. 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.
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, 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.
Russert died on June 13, 2008, of a sudden coronary thrombosis (caused by a cholesterol plaque rupture). 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.
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.
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.
Following Russert's death, Tom Brokaw was named the interim moderator through the 2008 general elections. 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.
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. NBC management became uncertain as to the future direction of the program.
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).
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, 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?'"
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".
The set utilized from March 17, 1996 to April 25, 2010, 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. 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.
The following is the list of moderators for Meet the Press:
|Lawrence E. Spivak||1966–1975|
|Roger Mudd and Marvin Kalb
|July 17, 1988||Atlanta, Georgia||1988 Democratic National Convention|
|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|
|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|
|January 25, 2004||Bedford, New Hampshire||48 hours before the New Hampshire primary|
|February 1, 2004||Milwaukee, Wisconsin||Interview with Howard Dean|
|February 8, 2004||Oval Office||Interview with George W. Bush|
|July 25, 2004||Boston, Massachusetts||2004 Democratic National Convention|
|August 29, 2004||New York City, New York||2004 Republican National Convention|
|October 31, 2004||New York City, New York||Two days before the U.S. presidential election|
|October 8, 2007||Des Moines, Iowa||Interview with John Edwards|
|November 11, 2007||Des Moines, Iowa||Interview with Barack Obama|
|December 30, 2007||Des Moines, Iowa||Interview with Mike Huckabee, two days before the 2008 Iowa caucuses|
|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|
|January 20, 2008||New York City, New York||Roundtable discussion|
|January 27, 2008||Tampa, Florida|
|June 29, 2008||Jackson Hole, Wyoming||Western Governors' Association annual meeting and Simi Valley, California (Reagan Library)|
|July 27, 2008||London, England||Barack Obama's overseas trip|
|August 10, 2008||Beijing, China||2008 Beijing Olympics|
|August 24, 2008||Denver, Colorado||2008 Democratic National Convention|
|August 31, 2008||Saint Paul, Minnesota||2008 Republican National Convention|
|September 7, 2008||Wilmington, Delaware||Senator Joe Biden appears on the show|
|October 26, 2008||Waterloo, Iowa||John McCain's campaign stop|
|December 7, 2008||Chicago, Illinois||Interview with president-elect Barack Obama; while taped in Chicago, Brokaw introduced and ended the show in D.C.|
|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|
|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|
The following is a partial list of notable guests and milestones for the show.
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, and is simulcast on radio stations by Westwood One (which also handles distribution of all other NBC-produced radio programming, including NBC News Radio).
"Alternative facts" was a phrase used by U.S. Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway during a Meet the Press interview on January 22, 2017, in which she defended White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's false statement about the attendance numbers of Donald Trump's inauguration as President of the United States. When pressed during the interview with Chuck Todd to explain why Spicer would "utter a provable falsehood", Conway stated that Spicer was giving "alternative facts". Todd responded, "Look, alternative facts are not facts. They're falsehoods."Conway's use of the phrase "alternative facts" for demonstrable falsehoods was widely mocked on social media and sharply criticized by journalists and media organizations, including Dan Rather, Jill Abramson, and the Public Relations Society of America. The phrase was extensively described as Orwellian. Within four days of the interview, sales of the book 1984 had increased by 9,500%, which The New York Times and others attributed to Conway's use of the phrase, making it the number-one bestseller on Amazon.com.Conway later defended her choice of words, defining "alternative facts" as "additional facts and alternative information".Andrea Mitchell
Andrea Mitchell (born October 30, 1946) is an American television journalist, anchor, and commentator for NBC News, based in Washington, D.C.
She is the NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, and reported on the 2008 Race for the White House for NBC News broadcasts, including NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Today, and MSNBC. She anchors Andrea Mitchell Reports airing from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. ET weekdays on MSNBC, has appeared on and guest hosted Meet the Press, and is often a guest on Hardball with Chris Matthews and The Rachel Maddow Show.Chris Cillizza
Christopher Michael "Chris" Cillizza (; born February 20, 1976) is an American political commentator for CNN. Prior to joining CNN, he wrote for The Fix, the daily political weblog of The Washington Post, and was a regular contributor to the Post on political issues, a frequent panelist on Meet the Press, and was an MSNBC political analyst. Cillizza is also co-host of The Tony Kornheiser Show. In April 2017, Cillizza began working for CNN, including writing and onscreen appearances.Chris Wallace
Christopher W. Wallace (born October 12, 1947) is an American television anchor and political commentator who is the host of the Fox Broadcasting Company/Fox News program Fox News Sunday. Wallace has won three Emmy Awards and the Dupont-Columbia Silver Baton Award. Wallace has been with Fox News since 2003. As a previous moderator of Meet the Press on NBC, Wallace is the only person to date to have served as host/moderator of more than one of the major American Sunday morning political talk shows.Chuck Todd
Charles David Todd (born April 8, 1972) is an American television journalist who is the 12th and current moderator of NBC's Meet the Press. He also hosts MTP Daily on MSNBC and is the Political Director for NBC News. Prior to taking the helm of Meet the Press, Todd was Chief White House correspondent for NBC and host of The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. He also serves as NBC News' on-air political analyst for NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt and Today.David Gregory (journalist)
David Michael Gregory (born August 24, 1970) is an American television journalist and the former moderator of NBC News' Sunday morning talk show Meet the Press. Gregory has served as a CNN political analyst since 2016.Erin Burnett
Erin Isabelle Burnett (born July 2, 1976) is an American news anchor, currently the anchor of her own show on CNN, Erin Burnett OutFront. She previously worked for CNBC as co-anchor of Squawk on the Street and the host of Street Signs. Burnett has also appeared on NBC's Meet the Press, Today, MSNBC's Morning Joe, and NBC Nightly News as well as making occasional appearances on The Celebrity Apprentice, serving as an advisor to Donald Trump. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.Burnett has hosted Erin Burnett OutFront live from the border of Mali, Afghanistan, Rwanda, the United Arab Emirates and Israel. She has also reported from China and Pakistan for the program.
While working at NBC, Joe Scarborough dubbed Burnett "The International Superstar" for her work on a number of documentaries filmed outside the United States. Her reporting and documentaries were filmed inside Libya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and India.
In her career, she has focused extensively on reporting in the Middle East and has filed reports from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen, in addition to Pakistan.Face the Nation
Face the Nation is a weekly news and morning public affairs program airing Sundays on the CBS radio and television network. Created by Frank Stanton in 1954, Face the Nation is one of the longest-running news programs in the history of television.
Typically, the program features interviews with prominent American officials, politicians and authors, followed by analysis from a panel of journalists. Margaret Brennan is the current moderator of Face the Nation, though former host John Dickerson has substituted during Brennan's maternity leave.The show's full hour broadcasts live from the CBS News Washington, D.C., bureau at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time, though some stations delay or abbreviate episodes to accommodate local and sports programming.In 2017, Face the Nation's audience was the largest of all Sunday public affairs programs, with an average of 3.538 million viewers. NBC competitor Meet the Press has closely competed for the title in 2018, besting Face the Nation's audience for several months.Katy Tur
Katharine Bear Tur (born October 26, 1983) is an American author and broadcast journalist working as a correspondent for NBC News. Tur is an anchor for MSNBC Live and has reported for the NBC news platforms Early Today, Today, NBC Nightly News, Meet the Press, WNBC-TV, MSNBC, and The Weather Channel.Kelly O'Donnell
Kelly O'Donnell (born May 17, 1965) is an American journalist. She is a political reporter for NBC News as White House and Capitol Hill correspondent.
She appears on NBC Nightly News, Today, Meet The Press, and MSNBC.Lawrence E. Spivak
Lawrence Edmund Spivak (June 11, 1900 – March 9, 1994) was an American publisher and journalist who was best known as the co-founder, producer and host of the prestigious public affairs program Meet the Press. He and journalist Martha Rountree founded the program as promotion for Spivak's magazine, The American Mercury, and it became the longest-running continuous network series in television history. During his 28 years as panelist and moderator of Meet the Press, Spivak was known for his pointed questioning of policy makers.NBC News
NBC News is the news division of the American broadcast television network NBC. The division operates under NBCUniversal Broadcast, Cable, Sports and News, a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, in turn a subsidiary of Comcast. The group's various operations report to the president of NBC News, Noah Oppenheim.NBC News aired the first, regularly scheduled news program in American broadcast television history on February 21, 1940. The group's broadcasts are produced and aired from 30 Rockefeller Center, NBC's headquarters in New York City.
The division presides over America's number-one-rated newscast, NBC Nightly News, and the longest-running television series in American history, Meet The Press, the Sunday morning program of newsmakers interviews. NBC News also offers 70 years of rare historic footage from the NBCUniversal Archives online.
NBC News operates a 24-hour cable news network known as MSNBC, which includes the organization's flagship daytime news operation, MSNBC Live. The cable network shares staff and editorial control with NBC News. In 2017, the organization entered into a partnership and purchased a 25% stake in Euronews, a European 24-hour news network.Peter Alexander (journalist)
Peter Marvin Alexander (born July 29, 1976) is an American journalist working for NBC News. Alexander was named NBC News White House Correspondent in December 2012. In October 2018 he was named Co-Anchor of Today on Saturdays. His reports appear across all platforms of NBC News, including NBC Nightly News, Today, Meet the Press, Dateline NBC, MSNBC and NBCNews.com. He is a Saturday co-anchor for Today alongside Sheinelle Jones and Dylan Dreyer, but he also continues as a NBC News national correspondent based in Washington, D.C. and a White House correspondent. His sister Rebecca Alexander is a psychotherapist living in New York City.Ralph Nader 2008 presidential campaign
The 2008 presidential campaign of Ralph Nader, political activist, author, lecturer and attorney began on February 24, 2008. He announced his intent to run as an independent candidate, on NBC's Meet The Press. It was Nader's fifth campaign; he ran in the four election cycles prior to 2008: 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004. The 2008 election was the third in which he had officially run a national campaign. While Nader ran as an independent, in some states he had ballot access with the Independent-Ecology Party, the Natural Law Party, and the Peace and Freedom Party. Nader received 738,475 votes.This Week (U.S. TV program)
This Week, originally titled as This Week with David Brinkley and currently billed as This Week with George Stephanopoulos, is an American Sunday morning political affairs program airing on the ABC television network. It premiered in November 1981. The program is currently anchored by George Stephanopoulos and co-anchored by Martha Raddatz. The program airs live at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time although many stations air the program at a later slot to air local newscasts, especially those in other time zones. Since the departure of popular host David Brinkley in 1996, the program generally finishes last in viewer ratings among the big 3 American Sunday network policy and pundit talk shows, behind Meet The Press and Face The Nation.Tim Russert
Timothy John Russert (May 7, 1950 – June 13, 2008) was an American television journalist and lawyer who appeared for more than 16 years as the longest-serving moderator of NBC's Meet the Press. He was a senior vice president at NBC News, Washington bureau chief and also hosted an eponymous CNBC/MSNBC weekend interview program. He was a frequent correspondent and guest on NBC's The Today Show and Hardball. Russert covered several presidential elections, and he presented the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey on the NBC Nightly News during the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Time magazine included Russert in its list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2008. Russert was posthumously revealed as a 30-year source for syndicated columnist Robert Novak.Tom Brokaw
Thomas John Brokaw (; born February 6, 1940) is an American television journalist and author, best known for being the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News for 22 years (1982–2004). He is the only person to have hosted all three major NBC News programs: The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and, briefly, Meet the Press. He now serves as a Special Correspondent for NBC News and works on documentaries for other outlets.Along with competitors Peter Jennings at ABC News and Dan Rather at CBS News, Brokaw was one of the "Big Three" news anchors in the U.S. during the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. The three hosted their networks' flagship nightly news programs for over 20 years, and all three started and retired (or died, in Jennings' case) within a year of each other.Brokaw has also written several books on American history and society in the 20th century. He is the author of The Greatest Generation (1998) and other books and the recipient of numerous awards and honors.WRC-TV
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On cable, the station is available on Comcast Xfinity channel 24 in Washington, D.C. (C-SPAN is carried on cable channel 4) and channel 4 in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs, and on Cox Communications, RCN and Verizon FiOS channel 4.Weekend Today
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The Saturday edition of the program airs in alignment with the weekday editions of Today from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. ET, although some affiliates chose to tape-delay the program, though some Central Time Zone affiliates may choose to air it live at 6:00 a.m. Central Time. The Saturday edition airs on some NBC stations in earlier timeslots than the weekday editions; stations in the western half of the country choose to air it at 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. local time. The Sunday edition, meanwhile, airs from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. ET. Most NBC affiliates choose to air two separate hour-long blocks of their local morning newscasts around the Sunday edition, and in some markets, the Saturday edition, with the first hour of the local newscast airing before and the second hour airing after the program. Some affiliates preempt part of the broadcast or preempt the entire program outright.