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Meet the Press is a weekly American television news/interview program produced by NBC. It is the longest-running television show in worldwide broadcasting history, having made its television debut on November 6, 1947. It has been hosted by eleven moderators; the current host is David Gregory, who assumed the role in December 2008.

Meet the Press and similar shows specialize in interviewing national leaders on issues of politics, economics, foreign policy and other public affairs. These shows help fulfill the obligations of the networks to provide a public service to the community.

Meet the Press is the highest-rated of the American television Sunday morning talk shows.

Format

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. The show expanded to 60 minutes starting with the September 20, 1992 broadcast.

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

Distribution

Meet the Press originates on NBC in the United Statesmarker, with additional telecasts on various other NBC Universal channels, including MSNBC in the U.S. and Canada, CNBC Europe in Europe, and CNBC Asia in Asia. It is also broadcast in Australia on the Seven Network.

Meet the Press is also available as an audio or video podcast, and is simulcast on radio stations by Westwood One.

Moderators

The following is the list of moderators for Meet the Press:
Martha Rountree 1947 – 1953
Ned Brooks 1953 – 1965
Lawrence E. Spivak 1966 – 1975
Bill Monroe 1975 – 1984
Roger Mudd / 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 – Present


History

Meet the Press began on radio in 1945 as American Mercury Presents: Meet the Press, a program to promote The American Mercury, a magazine that Lawrence E. Spivak had bought in 1944. Before the program aired, Spivak asked the 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.

On November 6, 1947 while still on the Mutual Broadcasting System, it was subsequently reincarnated on the NBC television network and renamed Meet the Press. The radio version also adopted the new name. Although some sources credit Mr. Spivak with the program's creation, Ms. 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 hostess was its creator Martha Rountree, to date the program's only female moderator. She stepped down November 1, 1953, and was replaced by Ned Brooks, who remained as moderator until December 26, 1965. Spivak became the moderator on January 1, 1966, moving from his role as a permanent panelist. Mr. Spivak retired on November 9, 1975, and he was replaced by Bill Monroe, who stepped down on June 2, 1984.

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 in 1987 and 1988, and Garrick Utley from 1989 through December 1, 1991.

Under Russert

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

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."

During the football season, Russert, a native of Buffalo, New Yorkmarker and an avid Buffalo Bills fan, 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). The former NBC Nightly News anchor and current special correspondent Tom Brokaw hosted a special edition of Meet the Press dedicated to the life of Russert on June 15, 2008, in which Tim Russert's chair was left empty, as a tribute.

Guest moderators



After Russert

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

Interim Moderators

Brian Williams, the NBC Nightly News anchor, acted as moderator of the first show back after the June 15 memorial broadcast, 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." In September 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 following 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 taking over full time the following Sunday.

Under Gregory

  • 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.


Locations (outside of DC studios)





Notable guests and events

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

Frequent guests and panelists

Most frequent guests:

Most frequent panelist appearances:
  • David Broder of the Washington Post/401 times, his first appearance was in 1963
  • Robert Novak of the Chicago Sun Times/248 times


Ratings

As of April 2006, Meet the Press has been the number-one Sunday-morning interview show for five years straight, beating CBS's Face the Nation, ABC's This Week, Fox News Sunday, and CNN's Late Edition. It has the second-highest rating on Sunday morning, behind CBS News Sunday Morning, which airs in the same time slot in most markets.

Fourth Quarter 2008 (Source: NTI) TOTAL VIEWERS
  • ABC “THIS WEEK” 3,350,000
  • CBS “FACE THE NATION” 3,150,000
  • NBC “MEET THE PRESS” 4,630,000
  • FOX “FOX NEWS SUNDAY” 1,500,000


April 26, 2009
  • ABC “THIS WEEK” 2,890,000
  • CBS “FACE THE NATION” CBS: 2,940,000
  • NBC “MEET THE PRESS” 3,440,000
  • FOX “FOX NEWS SUNDAY” 1,310,000


References and footnotes

External links




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