August 14, 2014 10:41am PT by Erik Hayden, Marisa Guthrie
David Gregory to Exit NBC's 'Meet the Press'
David Gregory will exit Meet the Press, and NBC News. Gregory confirmed weeks of speculation about his future in two tweets Thursday afternoon.
"I leave as I came — humbled and grateful. I love journalism and serving as moderator of MTP was the highest honor there is," he wrote. "I have great respect for my colleagues at NBC News and wish them all well. To viewers, I say thank you."
The change has been expected for some time, with NBC News political director Chuck Todd set to replace him. But Gregory was apparently finally informed today, after months of often snarky media speculation about the show's slipping ratings and his numbered days as host of the longest-running program on TV. Gregory's contract extends into next year, which means NBC News will likely have to pay out the remainder of his deal.
CNN's Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter reported this afternoon that Gregory would depart as the host of the Sunday morning talk show as soon as this weekend and that an announcement naming Todd the new host would come today or Friday. But the network has yet to finalize a deal with Todd, sources say. And insiders tell THR that announcement is not expected this afternoon, and will likely come next week. An NBC News spokesperson has not responded to a request for comment.
Gregory succeeded the late Tim Russert as host of the venerable political show in 2008. For years Meet the Press — which bowed in 1947 after a two years as a radio program — sat atop the Sunday morning news ratings. But the show has dropped double digits in the ratings during Gregory's tenure, with Bob Schieffer's Face the Nation on CBS and ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos having surpassed Meet the Press in the ratings. The Sunday shows are not major profit centers like the weekday morning shows. And the daypart, like much of TV news, has been roiled by the immediacy of the 24/7 news cycle. But the shows nevertheless are important branding franchises for the news divisions, conferring status and seriousness. And they are often essential viewing during the high political seasons.
Gregory, whose NBC News contract doesn't run out for several more months, is expected to leave the news division.
Aug. 14, 2:40 p.m. Updated with additional information about Gregory's departure.
Aug. 14, 4:16 p.m. Updated with Gregory's tweets.