“Meet the Press” host and moderator Chuck Todd announced on Sunday that he will step down this year after nine years hosting the public affairs talk show. Kristen Welker, NBC News’ co-chief White House correspondent, will succeed him.
“It’s been an amazing nearly decadelong run. I am really proud of what this team and I have built over the last decade,” Todd said during the broadcast Sunday. “I’ve loved so much of this job, helping to explain America to Washington and explain Washington to America.”
He plans to remain at NBC in a new role as chief political analyst, where he will serve as a key voice both in the field and during coverage of major events. He will also focus on longform journalism.
“When I took over ‘Meet the Press,’ it was a Sunday show that had a lot of people questioning whether it still could have a place in the modern media space,” Todd added. “Well, I think we’ve answered that question and then some.”
In a memo to staff members, NBC News’ president of editorial, Rebecca Blumenstein, and NBC News’ senior vice president of politics, Carrie Budoff Brown, hailed “Chuck’s thoughtful and passionate leadership.”
“‘Meet the Press’ has sustained its historic role as the indispensable news program on Sunday mornings,” Blumenstein and Budoff Brown said. “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.”
Welker joins the ranks of hosts that included Tim Russert, who presided over the show from 1991 until his death in 2008. She is the second woman — following its inaugural host, Martha Rountree — and the first Black journalist to moderate “Meet the Press.”
“Meet the Press” is the longest-running show on American television, celebrating its 75th anniversary last year. It has led its rival shows in total viewers for more than eight years and won its first Emmy during Todd’s tenure for a special report titled “Schools, America, and Race.”
Todd was at the helm of the show during some of the most seminal political events of the last decade — including the final years of President Barack Obama’s administration, the 2016 presidential campaign and the election of Donald Trump, and the aftermath of the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
In one of the most memorable interviews of the early Trump era, Todd asked Kellyanne Conway, one of Trump’s top aides, why then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer used his first appearance in the briefing room to dispute reports about the crowd size at the inauguration. Conway replied that Spicer was providing “alternative facts” — a turn of phrase that quickly became synonymous with the Trump administration’s attitude towards facts and the news media.
In response, Todd said: “Look, alternative facts are not facts. They’re falsehoods.”
Todd — the 12th moderator of “Meet the Press” and a five-time Emmy-winning journalist — saw himself as a custodian of the show. “I don’t own this, I’m just house sitting,” he said during a 75th anniversary celebration in Washington last year. “I want to leave it in better shape for the next person, and every person has done that.”
Welker has regularly filled in for Todd on “Meet the Press.” In his remarks during Sunday’s broadcast, Todd said he was ready to step back in part because Welker has been “ready for this for a long time.”
“I’ve had the privilege of working with her from essentially her first day, and let me just say she’s the right person in the right moment,” he said.
Welker joined NBC News in 2010 and became a mainstay in the White House briefing room. She’s covered the last three presidential elections, traveled around the world with top political leaders, and moderated the final 2020 debate between Trump and President Joe Biden. In 2020 she was named the co-host of “Weekend Today.”
“She has masterfully moderated primary and general election presidential debates and her sharp questioning of lawmakers is a masterclass in political interviews,” Blumenstein and Budoff Brown said in their memo to staff members. “She is a dogged reporter who relishes getting big scoops and is widely admired throughout the bureau and the network for her deeply collaborative nature.”
Welker will take over the show as the 2024 presidential campaign heats up and prepares to enter the primary season. The first GOP debate is scheduled for Aug. 23, the Republican National Committee announced last week.
Todd took over “Meet the Press” in September 2014, succeeding David Gregory, expanding the program’s broadcast and digital footprint to include a weekly podcast, a blog and an annual film festival. In addition to the Sunday program, he helped launch and hosted “MTP Daily,” a weekday version of the show that aired on MSNBC before moving to the streaming service NBC News Now last year.
He previously served as NBC News’ chief White House correspondent and host of the MSNBC series “The Daily Rundown.” Before arriving at NBC, Chuck was editor-in-chief of The Hotline, a political news and commentary website, where he developed a reputation as an incisive elections analyst with a quick command of data.
Disclosure: NBC News and CNBC are units of NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast.