NBC News President Plans ‘Meet the Press’ Overhaul, Says Show Needs ‘More Edge’

Deborah Turness hopes to revive the struggling Sunday talk show

WASHINGTON - JULY 20: NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd (L) and NBC Chief White House Correspondent David Gregory discuss during a taping of "Meet the Press" at the NBC studio July 20, 2008 in Washington, DC. Todd and Gregory discussed topics related to the presidential election in November, 2008. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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Chuck Todd will take over soon as the new host of “Meet the Press,” but he’s going to have a lot of company in the spotlight.

In an interview with the New York Times, NBC News President Deborah Turness looked back on her first year at the helm at 30 Rock, and looked ahead to the fixes she intends to make to “Meet the Press,” the flagship Sunday program that is in desperate need of revival.

Also read: ‘Meet the Press’ Minus David Gregory Ratings: Total Viewers Up, Demo Barely Down

Earlier this month, NBC fired host David Gregory, who took over for the legendary Tim Russert after his death in 2008, after the program fell to third place in the Sunday morning ratings behind “Face The Nation” (CBS) and “This Week” (ABC). Gregory left the network after 20 years of service.

Chuck Todd, the political director at NBC News and former host of MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown,” will replace Gregory in September, but as Turness suggested, that won’t be the only change.

Also read: Meet the Press’ Pays Tribute to Ousted Moderator David Gregory

According to the Times’ story, the program will also add “a regular panel of journalists who will question guests,” making for more of a lively, controversy-courting arena.

“The show needs more edge,” Turness admitted. “It needs to be consequential. I think the show had become a talking shop that raked over the cold embers of what had gone on the previous week. The one-on-one conversation belongs to a decade ago. We need more of a coffeehouse conversation.”

Also read: David Gregory Confirms ‘Meet the Press’ Exit: I’m Humbled and Grateful

Turness, a British journalist who was previously the editor of ITV News, has reason to be optimistic about the coming changes; despite the “Meet the Press” problems, she largely had a successful first year at NBC. While the network still has a ways to go, she was able to retain Matt Lauer at “Today,” despite the drama at the morning program in recent years, and also helped boost the ratings for Brian Williams‘ nightly newscast (also a success, with a 6 percent increase in viewership).