If you go back in time to the second broadcast season in which television existed, you’ll find the premiere of the longest-running TV show.
Ever wondered what the longest-running-TV show happens to be or when it first appeared on screens in people’s living rooms?
The date was November 6, 1947. The program, on NBC, was Meet the Press.
To say that television was in its infancy is an understatement. The 1946-1947 television season is considered the first in television history, but back then, there were only two choices on the dial to the fraction of Americans who owned television sets: NBC and the DuMont network.
Meet the Press was originally conceived as a 30-minute “mini-news conference” but was eventually expanded to include more in-depth interviews and panel discussions.
Creator Martha Roundtree served as its first moderator and Chuck Todd, the 12th person to sit in that seat, is its current moderator. The moderator position was held for the longest period by the late Tim Russert, who died in 2008 at work while preparing for that week’s program.
In terms of the show’s history, President Gerald R. Ford became the first sitting U.S. President to appear on a live television news program in 1975, and the network says every president since John F. Kennedy has appeared on the program at some point, though not necessarily during his presidency.
Its closest competitor in age and format is CBS’s Meet the Press, which launched seven years after Meet The Press. But its closest competitor in age alone is the CBS Evening News, which made its launch in 1948 as Douglas Edwards with the News.
But what’s most interesting to me is that a show this old can still beat its competitors. Medialife Magazine reported that the show’s January 22nd episode averaged 4.55 million total viewers. That was the episode in which President Donal Trump’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway, said the White House press secretary used “alternative facts” in his first meeting with the media. The “alternative facts” line has become the stuff of meme legends on social media.
It’s just one of many signs to indicate that it’ll be an interesting four years…at which point Meet the Press will be headed toward its diamond anniversary.