Chuck Todd will cede the anchor role at NBC News’ long-running “Meet The Press” after this summer to up-and-coming correspondent Kristen Welker, the latest in a series of anchor maneuvers made by big TV-news outlets as they strive to attract a new generation of viewers.
Todd, who came aboard the NBC franchise in 2014, has expanded the program, which launched in 1947 and is TV’s longest-running regular show. He has delved into everything from podcasts to digital video to film festivals. But, he told viewers on the program’s Sunday broadcast, he doesn’t want to “overstay.” Executives at NBC News have kept their plans for this program close to the vest, according to a person familiar with the matter, who noted that the timing of the announcement is likely to surprise many in the industry.
NBC News is changing anchors at the program just as the nation’s big journalism outlets are preparing to cover the run-up to the 2024 presidential election — a cycle that typically draws bigger audiences, generates higher ratings, and wins new sponsorships from advertisers. CNN recently announced that Dana Bash, a longtime political correspondent, would take the reins of the weekday Washington-news program “Inside Politics,” replacing veteran John King. And CBS News recently launched a new Washington roundtable program for streaming video, “America Decides.”
Todd told viewers Sunday that he felt his tenure was coming to an end. “I’d rather leave a little bit too soon than stay a tad too long. I’ve had two amazing professional chapters and I already have plans for my next chapter, including some projects here at NBC that I’ve been very focused on: among them, docu series and docu-dramas focused on trying to bridge our divides and pierce political bubbles,” Todd told viewers. “So while I may be leaving this chair, I’m still going to help NBC navigate and coach colleagues in this 2024 campaign season and beyond.” He is expected to continue as chief political analyst for NBC News.
Welker will be the first regular female moderator of “Meet The Press” since Martha Rountree, who launched the program for NBC and led it from 1947 to 1953.
In Welker, NBC News has tapped a journalist who has gained significant traction in recent years. Welker moderated a 2020 election debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump despite social-media scrutiny that sought to derail her efforts. She is a co-anchor of Saturday;s’ “Today” broadcast and often part of the mix behind the scenes of NBC’s news plans, on occasion hashing out events with Savannah Guthrie in the pre-dawn hours before “Today” starts. And she shares the lead White House correspondent role for NBC with her colleague and friend, Peter Alexander.
She joined NBC News in 2010, and has filled in on the Sunday broadcast. She also co-anchors a streaming-video counterpart to “Meet The Press,” “Meet The Press NOW,” and works with Todd on election-night coverage for streaming video.
The switch is the most significant move under the early tenure of Rebecca Blumenstein, who was named president of editorial at NBC News earlier this year, tasked not only with oversight of newsgathering, but also “Meet The Press” and “Dateline,” among other efforts.
“Under Chuck’s thoughtful and passionate leadership, ‘Meet the Press’ has sustained its historic role as the indispensable news program on Sunday mornings. Through his penetrating interviews with many of the most important newsmakers, the show has played an essential role in politics and policy, routinely made front-page news, and framed the thinking in Washington and beyond,” said Blumenstein and Carrie Budoff Brown, who oversees “Meet The Press,” in a memo to staffers. Welker “is a dogged reporter who relishes getting big scoops and is widely admired throughout the bureau and the network for her deeply collaborative nature.”