Todd, 51, said he was motivated by a desire to spend more time with his family and was focusing on longer-term projects such as docu-series and docudramas. “For almost 30 years I let work consume me,” he said. “I can’t remember the last time I didn’t get up before 5 or 6 in the morning, and as I’ve seen so many friends and family consume them before it’s too late, I promise my family. Do it.”
He also praised Welker as the right person to succeed him in the job. “I have had the privilege of working with him since his first day and I would say he is the right person at the right time,” he told the audience.
Welker, 46, who joined NBC News in 2010, has long been touted as a rising star at the network and in the industry.
On Twitter, Welker described Todd as a “mentor and friend.” “I learned a lot from sitting at the anchor desk with him and experiencing his passion for politics.” She wrote. “I am humbled and grateful to take up the baton and continue to build on the legacy of @MeetThePress.”
In her role as NBC’s chief White House correspondent, Welker regularly guest-hosts “Meet the Press” and co-hosts the streaming show “Meet the Press NOW,” which airs weekdays at 4 p.m.
“He is the ideal journalist to build on the Meet the Press legacy,” NBC News president of editorial Rebecca Blumenstein and NBC News senior vice president Gary Pudoff Brown said in a memo to staff Sunday morning.
Can the Sunday morning talk show be saved?
Welker served as the moderator for the final 2020 presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, earning praise for his performance. In addition to being the youngest moderator of the presidential election cycle, he was also the only moderator of color.
In an era of declining viewership across broadcast and cable news, “Meet the Press” still draws a large audience, averaging 2.57 million viewers in the 2021 to 2022 broadcast season. In total viewers, the show trailed its competitors on CBS (“Face the Nation”) and ABC (“This Week”).
Overall, however, Sunday morning broadcasts have declined from the social and political influence they once had.
However, when announcing his departure from the project, Todd sought to place his role as moderator in the context of the country’s current political moment. “I’m worried about this moment in history, but I’m reassured by the standards we’ve set here,” he said.
Todd is credited with expanding the “Meet the Press” brand, hosting a daily show on MSNBC that ended in 2022, a weekly streaming show “Meet the Press Reports” and a branded film festival.
But he has come under regular criticism for some of his editorial decisions. 2020 headline in the Los Angeles Times described him as “First among viewers — and Twitter critics.” He pushed back on calls for Republicans who supported efforts to alter the results of the 2020 presidential election to avoid appearing on Sunday morning shows like “Meet the Press.” argue that “You have to be absolutely careful.”
On Sunday, Todd bowed to the criticism, saying he took it personally. “If you’re doing this job for fame, you’re doing this job wrong,” he said. “I take the party’s attacks as compliments.”
He also addressed some broader criticism of his performance as a moderator and interviewer. “We don’t tolerate campaigners and this network and program will never exist,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean sticking your head in the sand; If you ignore reality, you’ll miss the bigger story.
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