After word broke NBC News was rushing to replace David Gregory with Chuck Todd as host of Meet The Press before this weekend’s broadcast, in advance of the Todd announcement, Gregory tweeted confirmation of his departure:
Moment later, NBC News issued division chief Deborah Turness’ email to staff, announcing his replacement, who starts September 7:
I want to share some news about Meet the Press. After an exceptional 20 years with NBC News, David Gregory is leaving the network.
I want to express my sincerest thanks to David, who, after the death of Tim Russert, led Meet the Press for almost 6 years. Under his leadership the show has had a string of exclusives, and David has shown a remarkable gift for holding leaders to account and getting answers on issues that matter to our audience. He is an outstanding journalist whose sharp intellect and quick sense of humor have made him a pleasure to work with. I know you all join me in expressing our deepest gratitude and in wishing him the very best.
I am very pleased to announce that Chuck Todd will take the helm on September 7. There is no one with a bigger passion for politics than Chuck. His unique ability to deliver that passion with razor sharp analysis and infectious enthusiasm makes him the perfect next generation moderator of this beloved broadcast. Chuck will ensure that Meet the Press is the beating heart of politics, the place where newsmakers come to make news, where the agenda is set. We have some exciting plans to evolve and update the broadcast under Chuck’s leadership that we will be sharing with you shortly.
Chuck will continue as NBC News political director, and will hand over his roles as chief White House correspondent and anchor of MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown.
Andrea Mitchell will serve as moderator of Meet the Press this weekend, and will continue to be a central figure of the broadcast, along with some new names that we will announce in the coming days.
For nearly seventy years, Americans have turned to Meet the Press on Sunday mornings for unrivaled insights on the news stories, political battles and public affairs debates dominating the national discussion. The next-generation Meet the Press, led by Chuck Todd, is certain to be the must-watch political destination on Sundays and beyond.
After getting nicked by various TV News pundits and participants, for keeping Meet The Press host Gregory hanging all these months as to his future with the struggling program, NBC News had rushed to conclusion this morning, in hopes of naming Chuck Todd new MTP host before the Sunday franchise’s next broadcast. Gregory has hosted the once-dominant Sunday program for six years.
Pressure on NBC News had been mounting to stop its “lousy” treatment of Gregory, as described by Fox News’ Chris Wallace on FNC’s Howard Kurtz all-things-media show MediaBuzz last Sunday. In increasingly tepid statements, NBC News had tried in vain to stem the flow of reports Gregory was on his way out the door. News sources began this morning to confirm an imminent announcement, after CNN posted the new timeline on its website.
Reports of Gregory’s exit have been circulating for ages — he is, after all, trailing his broadcast competitors years into his tenure, having been given the tough job of replacing Tim Russert, who’d reigned as the king of Sunday Beltway TV for years. Russert died at the studio in the summer of ’08. Tom Brokaw took over for Russert and anchored through that presidential-election cycle; Gregory was named to the job that December.
Speculation about a MTP host swap heated up when Turness took over as chief of NBC News in the summer of 2013. But it was officially declared open season on Gregory this past April, when The Washington Post reported NBC News had enlisted the help of a psychological consultant to figure out why the host wasn’t clicking with viewers. In a memo to her staff, Turness dismissed the WaPo story as “quite ludicrous,” “vindictive,” and “untrue, ” adding that NBC News “is proud to have David in the important anchor chair of Meet The Press.” Nevertheless, a frenzy of “NBC Hires Psychologist to Evaluate David Gregory,” and “NBC Thinks David Gregory Requires Psychiatric Help” media reports ensued. The drum beat grew even louder in July, when word Gregory could be replaced after the November midterm elections elicited the wimpy NBC News response: “We heard the same false rumors and suggest you take them with a grain of salt, as we did.”
Todd, NBC News’ chief White House correspondent, political director and host of MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, had been the frontrunner in this ongoing story, taking a short break when Morning Joe’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were briefly speculated to be the prettiest dress in the store, though some outlets noted even then that Todd had lost weight to prep for the gig.
Moments after word began to leak that Gregory would be removed as host before the show’s next broadcast, ABC News issued ratings for last week’s broadcasts of the Sunday Beltway shows, noting its This Week With George Stephanopoulos ranked No. 1 in the news demo, making it 9 of the past 11 weeks This Week held the top spot. The ABC program outstripped Meet The Press by 204,000 total viewers and by 82,000 demo viewers last Sunday and now has beat NBC’s show the past seven Sundays in overall crowd, and six of the past seven broadcasts in the news demo. Last Sunday, This Week clocked 829,000 demo viewers, besting MTP’s 747,000. CBS’ Face The Nation also beat MTP in the news demo with 772,000 viewers. In overall audience, MTP (2.429 million viewers) got thumped by This Week (2.633 million) and Face The Nation (2.899 million).