Definitions

talk shows

Sunday morning talk shows

The Sunday morning talk shows are influential television talk/public affairs programs broadcast on Sunday mornings. Often featuring national leaders in politics and public life as guests, this type of program originated in the United States, and has since been used in Australia and the United Kingdom.

United States

In the United States the five major programs, in order of their debuts, are:

Program Host Network Debut Replays
Meet the Press Tom Brokaw NBC 1947 MSNBC, Westwood One, WCSP
Face the Nation Bob Schieffer CBS 1954 CBS Radio Network, WCSP
This Week George Stephanopoulos ABC 1981 WCSP
Late Edition Wolf Blitzer CNN 1993 WCSP
Fox News Sunday Chris Wallace FOX 1996 Fox News Channel, Fox News Radio, WCSP

NOTE 1: Both Brokaw and Schieffer are expected to retire November 2008. Brokaw is the interim replacement for Tim Russert, who died in June 2008.
NOTE 2: Meet the Press traces its history to a radio program that debuted in 1945; the program debuted on television in 1947.
NOTE 3: This Week traces its history to Issues and Answers, which debuted in 1960.

While these are the "Big Five" that are universally included in the definition, there are some other shows that are occasionally included in this category. Examples include NBC's syndicated The Chris Matthews Show, Bloomberg Television's Political Capital with Al Hunt,, the PBS roundtables The McLaughlin Group and Inside Washington, C-SPAN's Newsmakers, Fox News Channel's Journal Editorial Report, and (until Tim Russert's 2008 death) MSNBC's Tim Russert Show, among several others. Univision's Al Punto is a talk show of this variety that is broadcast in the Spanish language.

The talk shows often feature national leaders in politics and public life, including U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives, state governors, candidates for President and Vice President, Cabinet secretaries, White House officials, and directors of federal agencies. U.S. military leaders, ambassadors, and religious leaders also appear, as well as promient journalists and commentators. Members of prominent think tanks such as Brookings, AEI, Cato, Hoover, and Heritage often are invited to appear on the Sunday morning talk shows.

The shows are generally aired live or recorded in Washington, D.C., providing easy access to many political leaders. Many individuals manage to appear via satellite or in studio for two or more of the programs. In the twelve years that there have been five talk shows, four times has an individual appeared on all five programs in one week. In 1998, William H. Ginsburg, attorney for Monica Lewinsky's family during the Lewinsky scandal, performed what would be named in his honor as the "Full Ginsburg." Then-Vice Presidential candidate Dick Cheney repeated it in 2000, as did then Senator and vice presidential candidate John Edwards in 2004, and in 2007, presidential candidate and Senator Hillary Clinton equaled the feat. More common is an interviewee appearing on different shows in consecutive weeks (for instance, a Presidential candidate may appear on Meet the Press one week, This Week the next, and Fox News Sunday the week after that).

C-SPAN Radio provides a commercial-free rebroadcast of all five shows in rapid succession, beginning at noon Eastern. Other radio stations rebroadcast some of the shows with commercials on Sunday afternoon.

Many local television stations also produce their own programs that air in this time frame, generally focusing on local or state politics rather than national issues.

Australia

Similar Sunday-morning current-events shows exist in Australia. These include Network Ten's Meet the Press since 1992, Nine Network's Sunday (1981-2008), and Insiders, a political interview program on the ABC.

United Kingdom

Similar practice occurs in the UK, in the form of shows such as The Andrew Marr Show (previously known as Sunday AM) on the BBC and Sunday Live with Adam Boulton on Sky News; however, these shows have a somewhat-broader range, often intervewing figures from the arts, popular entertainment, and sports in addition to political leaders (similar to CBS News Sunday Morning in the United States). The first such Sunday show in Britain was Weekend World, made by London Weekend Television for the ITV network from 1972 to 1988.

References

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