NBC continues to reshape its veteran news and interview program “Meet the Press.” The network has appointed former “Hardball with Chris Matthews” executive producer John Reiss as the acting EP for the latest iteration of the show, according to an internal memo acquired by TheWrap.
Chuck Todd replaces ousted host David Gregory on Sept. 7; Gregory was fired from the show last month. Gregory had been moderator of the struggling Sunday series since the 2008 death of its previous host Tim Russert. In that time, “MTP” slipped to third place, behind CBS’s “Face the Nation” and ABC’s “This Week.”
It’s a return of sorts for Reiss. Prior to his work for MSNBC, Reiss was an executive producer of “NBC Nightly News” for two years. He began at the network in 1994 as a producer on “Dateline,” coming off of 11 years as a writer and producer at ABC News.
With Reiss stepping into the role, at least on an interim basis, current EP Rob Yarin will stay involved with “MTP,” helping “establish a 24/7 editorial presence,” and increasing the show’s digital imprint. After 11 years as “MTP” executive producer, and 23 years with NBC, Betsy Fischer Martin left the company Friday.
The changes are just the latest in the ongoing evolution of “Meet the Press” under NBC News President Deborah Turness. In an interview with The New York Times, Turness talked candidly about the problems the show faced, and the changes being implemented.
Joining Todd on-screen will be a panel of journalists to question guests, “making for a more lively, controversy-courting arena.” Turness said that the show needs more edge, that one-on-one conversations are a thing of the past.
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The complete memo to “Meet the Press” staff from NBC senior vice president Alex Wallace announcing Reiss’ acting position is below:
We have an exciting week ahead as we prepare for Chuck’s debut as moderator of Meet the Press this Sunday. We’re beginning a new era — and we’re building the foundation together by shaping and defining our new vision.
To lead these efforts day-to-day, John Reiss will serve as acting executive producer. As many of you know, John has been working closely with Chuck and the team over the past several weeks to help get the new MTP off the ground, advising on everything from editorial planning to studio renovations. John is on loan to us from his day job as executive producer of MSNBC’s Hardball, where he has worked for nearly 7 years, following a long career at NBC News, including two years as EP of NBC Nightly News.
Rob Yarin will continue to play a key role with Meet the Press. In addition to overseeing several big MTP-related projects and initiatives we have planned, he will be integral to establishing a 24/7 editorial presence and ramping up our digital strategy. We are grateful for the leadership and expertise both Rob and John bring to the table as we continue to evolve this special program.
Chuck Todd and John Reiss’ debut episode of “Meet the Press” airs Sept. 9 on NBC.