This reporting appears as one of several scoops featured in this week’s edition of Confider, the newsletter pulling back the curtain on the media. Subscribe here and send your questions, tips, and complaints here.
The executive producer of Meet the Press, who NBC announced last week is ”shifting” over to the streaming side, was pushed out amid the Sunday politics show’s ratings woes, two people familiar with the matter told Confider.
John Reiss, who had been EP for the last eight years, was officially punted over to the NBC News Now streaming service, and David P. Gelles, a long-time CNN producer who helped develop the now-defunct CNN+ streamer, was parachuted in to help fix the sinking show, which is down 21 percent in total viewership and 24 percent in the key advertising demographic compared to last year—more than any of the other Sunday politics shows.
Gelles’ first order of business, multiple sources said, is deciding what to do about Chuck Todd, who despite recently signing a two-year extension, as Confider has learned, has baffled many at NBC with how long he’s remained atop the struggling show.
NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker is being groomed to replace Todd, multiple insiders with knowledge of the matter said, and is expected to take on more hosting duties as the midterm elections approach.
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Todd was already demoted once this year when his Meet the Press Daily broadcast on MSNBC was relegated to NBC’s streaming service. And earlier this year, with NBC Universal CEO Jeff Shell in attendance, Todd was brutally roasted by Trevor Noah at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. “How are you doing?” the Daily Show host asked Todd. “I’d ask a follow-up, but I know you don’t know what those are.”
According to 30 Rock insiders, these incidents have all demonstrated how Todd remains unpopular with viewers and critics and that the Meet the Press franchise has been overexposed.
“At what point does anyone have the balls to say ‘Maybe the problem is the face of it’?” one Meet the Press source wondered. The show has thus far been unable to replace its booking producer, who recently left for Meta, according to sources familiar with the situation.
The lingering questions about Todd’s future atop the Sunday show have garnered comparisons to the long, drawn-out, messy saga of former Meet the Press host David Gregory, who was ultimately pushed out in 2014 and replaced with Todd.
“After being the EP of the Sunday broadcast for eight years, at the end of his contract, John Reiss was looking for a different opportunity within the MTP franchise,” a NBC News spokesperson emailed Confider. “Kristen Welker is the co-host of Meet the Press NOW on NBC News NOW and has been since the show launched. And she and Chuck have been leading NBC News NOW’s election specials all year long.”
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