Kristen Welker’s tenure at NBC News’ venerable “Meet The Press” won’t start until September 17, but the network isn’t waiting to tell viewers about it.
On Saturday, during the NBC News journalist’s last time co-anchoring the Saturday broadcast of “Today” with Peter Alexander, those who tune in will see a new promo alerting them to Welker’s imminent move. The video vignette displays Welker moments from across her recent career: in the White House briefing room covering three presidents; on the campaign trail; and moderating one of the 2020 presidential debates. The promo will also feature footage from Welker’s fill-in appearances at the “Meet the Press” desk.
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When Welker takes the reins of the program from Chuck Todd, she will become the series’ 13th moderator, but just the first Black journalist to moderate the show, and just the second woman (Martha Rountree, the series’ founding anchor, launched “Meet The Press,” a TV version of a public-affairs radio program, in 1947). In an interview earlier this week with WTMJ, the NBC Milwaukee affiliate, Welker said she hopes “to reflect the voices all across this country from different backgrounds. And I think that that’s a part of the responsibility and a part of the tradition that I will carry.”
NBC News is orchestrating a transition at the show at a critical moment. Most national TV-news outlets are focusing more intently on the run-up to the 2024 presidential election, a cycle that typically draws broader viewership — and more ad dollars. In 2020, average audience for each of the four Sunday morning political talk shows on broadcast TV — ABC’s “This Week,” CBS’ “Face The Nation,” Fox’s “Fox News Sunday” and NBC’s ‘”Meet The Press” — rose by about 20%, according to data collected by Pew Research Center.
NBC News plans to make a few subtle changes to the program once Welker joins. A new logo, which incorporates some modern design elements, has already been created. Welker will sit behind a new desk at “Meet The Press” and the structure of the program is getting an update, though NBC News declined to offer additional details.
During Todd’s tenure, “Meet The Press” has expanded beyond its Sunday TV base. The news franchise has encompassed a variety of podcasts, a newsletter, a cable program (now part of the streaming service NBC News Now), and even a film festival.
Welker hinted in the recent interview that she hoped to build on his efforts. “Chuck brought me to D.C. to cover the White House many years ago, and I have learned almost everything I know about politics from Chuck Todd,” she said. “And I just want to make sure that I am making him proud, and that I am building on the incredible legacy that he started and also the legacy of the show.”
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