NBCUniversal chief executive, Jeff Shell, has floated the idea of replacing Chuck Todd on Meet the Press with Nicolle Wallace.
“Two people familiar with the conversations told me that the NBCUniversal chief executive, Jeff Shell, had floated the notion of elevating Ms. Wallace to take over the prestige Sunday morning show “Meet the Press,” according to a report in the New York Times.
The piece then speculated that a move was not imminent, “An NBC executive said the current host, Chuck Todd, ‘has led the Sunday news-making and ratings battles for five years at the helm of ‘Meet the Press’ and will continue to do so.’”
In the political media landscape, this would be a seismic change. Todd is a familiar face on Sunday mornings. A habit, some would say. However, it’s hardly jarring that this idea has been discussed.
NBC is bullish on Wallace and is giving her an aggressive push. Wallace is the main beneficiary of MSNBC’s new weekday lineup. The network is expanding Wallace’s Deadline: White House to two hours; Deadline will air from 5 – 7 p.m. ET. In the move, MTP Daily, hosted by Todd, moves to a much less desired 1 p.m. slot.
The lineup change, as most in the industry would agree, is only the start of Wallace’s elevation.
Even if Wallace isn’t to immediately replace Todd on the prestige Meet the Press, it’s hard to imagine NBC not envisioning her, someday, as the heir apparent. But that move shouldn’t happen anytime soon.
if Wallace were to replace Todd now, it would likely result in viewer-frustration. In 2020, if a television program works, don’t tweak it. Todd’s run continues to draw large viewership. In Q2 for 2020, Meet the Press, with 3.8 million weekly viewers, topped all Sunday broadcast news shows. Todd is a recognizable name and face who has chemistry with a litany of frequent guests. Additionally, Wallace should first have to succeed at her next step.
With any push, comes pressure. Wallace has to now perform at a higher level. Weekdays, Deadline now competes with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Fox News’ The Five. In July, airing one hour a day, Deadline averaged an impressive 2 million viewers. The extended broadcast and stauncher competition could hurt that number. The Five, a July standout, drew primetime numbers at 5 p.m., with 3.3 million daily viewers. The Situation Room, which airs from 5 – 7, averaged 1.4 million; however, in the coveted 25-54 demographic, it ranked 14 to Deadline‘s 24. The Five came in, no joke, fifth.
Though Wallace is not a Trump supporter, she is unique at a network filled with liberal commentators. Wallace’s resume includes former White House Communications Director for President George W. Bush. While that sounds offsetting, it doesn’t shed NBC/MSNBC’s label as a far-left network. Nor does it mean center voters or conservatives will flock to her broadcasts.
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