Monday, March 6, 2017

When News Was News Week: Meet The Press (1947)

NBC's Meet The Press marks its 70th anniversary this year, and I can't think of a better way to kick off a week of revisiting old school news programming than to commemorate the occasion.

Press was the brainchild of its first moderator, Martha Rountree, founder of the American Mercury magazine, which spun off a radio show by the same name for the Mutual Broadcasting System in 1939. Rountree & business partner-producer Lawrence Spivak made the move to television 8 years later. Most of us will recall that Spivak was the moderator for a good chunk of the 60's & 70's after serving as a permanent panelist.

After 45 years of a half-hour format, Press morphed into its current hour-long configuration in 1992 under the late Tim Russert, and as the format has continued to evolve, the revolving door of moderators has swung a few times, pausing with current host Chuck Todd, who first came aboard as an editor before taking the moderator's chair in 2014.

The memories I have of Press are of a few Spivak shows in the late 60's or early 70's, some Russert episodes from the 90's, and that's about it. I don't watch it anymore, as I'm out when it's on in first-run on Sunday mornings.

From 1965, Spivak is a panelist interviewing civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..

I'd rather have these kind of interviews than the bells & whistles that come with today's news programs.

Rating: A.

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