Chuck Todd leaves NBC’s political show ‘Meet the Press’ and is replaced by Kristen Welker

NEW YORK (AP) — Chuck Todd said Sunday he would be leaving “Meet the Press” after a tumultuous decade of moderating the NBC political panel, which will be replaced in the coming months by Kristen Welker.

Todd, 51, told viewers that “I’ve seen too many friends and family let work consume them before it’s too late” and that he promised his family he wouldn’t. wouldn’t do.

Todd was often an online punching bag for critics, including Donald Trump, during a polarized time, and there were rumors his time on the show would be cut short when his executive producer was reassigned at the end. from last summer, but NBC gave no indication that it was anything other than Todd’s decision. It’s unclear when Todd’s final show will be, but he told viewers it would be his last summer.

“I leave worried about this moment in history, but reassured by the standards we’ve set here,” Todd said. “We did not tolerate propagandists, and this network and this program never will.”

Welker, a former chief White House correspondent, has been with NBC News in Washington since 2011 and has served as Todd’s main replacement for the past three years. She praised moderating the final presidential debate between Trump, a Republican, and Joe Biden, a Democrat, in 2020.

His “sharp questioning of lawmakers is a masterclass in political interviewing,” said NBC News editorial chair Rebecca Blumenstein in a memo announcing Welker’s elevation on Sunday.

Now Welker, 46, will be thrust into what promises to be another round of contentious presidential elections.

The Sunday morning political interview show has been on the air since 1947, run by inventor and early host Martha Rountree. Its peak came in the years that Tim Russert moderated, from 1991 until his death in 2008, with a less certain footing since then. Tom Brokaw briefly filled in after Russert’s death, and David Gregory filled in until he was kicked out in favor of Todd.

Welker will be the first black host of “Meet the Press” and the first woman since Rountree left in 1953.

Todd said he was proud to extend the “Meet the Press” brand to a daily show, which first aired on MSNBC but moved to streaming, along with podcasts and newsletters, even a film festival.

“He transformed the brand into a vital modern-day franchise, expanding its footprint into an array of new mediums, and kept ‘Meet the Press’ at the forefront of political discourse,” Blumenstein said.

That didn’t stop critics from jumping on social media when they didn’t like an interview Todd conducted. Trump even anointed Todd with one of his signature nicknames, Sleepy Eyes, and called on NBC to fire Todd in 2020 for airing an interview clip with his then-Attorney General William Barr that the show later admitted to being cut to leave an inaccurate impression.

Todd was roasted at the 2022 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner by Trevor Noah, who pointed at him in the audience and said, “How are you? I would ask for a follow up, but I know you don’t know what it is.

Todd hinted at his detractors when announcing his exit on Sunday.

“If you’re doing this job in pursuit of popularity, you’re doing this job incorrectly,” he said. “I take the attacks from the fans as compliments. And I take real compliments with a grain of salt when they come from supporters.

The purpose of each show, he said, is to “drive you crazy, make you think, shake your head in disapproval at one point and nod your head in approval at others”.

In the just-concluded TV season, “Meet the Press” finished third in viewership after CBS’ “Face the Nation” and ABC’s “This Week,” each averaging between 2.5 million and 2.9 million viewers, ratings firm Nielsen said.

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