NEW YORK, USA (AP) — Chuck Todd said on Sunday that he'll be leaving Meet the Press after a tumultuous near-decade of moderating the NBC political panel show to be replaced in the coming months by Kristen Welker.
Todd, 51, told viewers that, "I've watched too many friends and family let work consume them before it was too late" and that he'd promised his family he wouldn't do that.
He has often been an online punching bag for critics, including Donald Trump, during a polarised time, and there were rumours that his time at the show would be short when its executive producer was reassigned at the end of last summer, but NBC gave no indication this was anything other than Todd's decision.
It's unclear when Todd's last show will be, but he told viewers that this would be his final summer.
"I leave feeling concerned about this moment in history but reassured by the standards we've set here," Todd said. "We didn't tolerate propagandists, and this network and programme never will."
Welker, a former chief White House correspondent, has been at NBC News in Washington since 2011 and has been Todd's chief fill-in for the past three years. She drew praise for moderating the final presidential debate between Trump, a Republican, and Joe Biden, a Democrat, in 2020.
Her "sharp questioning of lawmakers is a masterclass in political interviews", said Rebecca Blumenstein, NBC News president of editorial, in a memo announcing Welker's elevation on Sunday.
Now Welker, 46, will be thrust into what promises to be another contentious presidential election cycle.
The Sunday morning political interview show has aired since 1947.
Welker will be the first black moderator and first woman since Rountree left in 1953.
Todd alluded to his critics in announcing his exit on Sunday.
"If you do this job seeking popularity, you are doing this job incorrectly," he said. "I take the attacks from partisans as compliments. And I take the genuine compliments with a grain of salt when they come from partisans."
In the just-concluded television season, Meet the Press was third in viewers after CBS's Face the Nation and ABC's This Week, each of them averaging between 2.5 million and 2.9 million viewers, the Nielsen ratings company said.