It is fair to ask why I get all excited–or bent out of shape–when it comes to Sunday morning news shows on the networks. I take hard opinionated positions on these shows for two reasons.
First, from my late teenage years to this very past weekend they have been a part of my life. I have a very regulated routine on Sunday mornings that is different than any other day of the week. I even have a special coffee cup for Sunday!
Over the decades I watched the legends such as David Brinkley with his crusty wit use his most distinctive voice and agile mind to spark conversation with guests. I was challenged to think about contrary opinions with the likes of George Will. I watched as much for style as content when Tim Russert, who gave a higher meaning to being meticulously prepared, grilled his guests and demanded with repeated questions that an answer be provided. And of course there is the institutional memory of Bob Schieffer and the gentlemanly way of asking a tough question that completes any Sunday.
The second reason these shows matter is that they always have felt like the on-air version of the Sunday papers. Bigger, meatier, and more substantive than the weekday fare. The thematic events of the week should be fleshed out on these programs, and if the show is doing what it was placed on the air to achieve there will be mention of it in the Monday morning newspaper. That is how I came to know and love these programs.
So I was mighty pleased to hear that Meet The Press is not only moving forward with a new host, Chuck Todd, but also reverting back in time to a look and feel that made the program must-watching for a wide segment of the nation.
As announced by NBC News the show will “include adding a regular panel of journalists who will question guests, something of a return to the venerable show’s original format.” This can be a great idea once again with the right journalists and proper tone set by Todd.
Over the past few years Meet The Press has slid from first place to third in the ratings, but with an emphasis on newsmakers and getting to the issues that need a conversation the show can again be at the top of the rankings.