NEW YORK -- Embattled "Meet the Press" moderator David Gregory is leaving NBC News and Chuck Todd will replace him on the venerable Sunday morning public affairs program, according to NBC officials.

Todd begins his new role on Sept. 7. He remains as NBC News’ political director, but will relinquish his duties as Chief White House correspondent and anchor of MSNBC’s "The Daily Rundown." He has been a frequent guest on "Meet the Press" as a political analyst.

The 42-year-old Todd came to NBC in 2007 after working for National Journal’s "The Hotline," where he was editor-in-chief.

He becomes only the 11th permanent host of "Meet the Press," which premiered in 1947 and bills itself as "the world’s longest-running television program."

Gregory had been moderator since 2008. Before that, he was NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent for the eight years of George W. Bush’s presidency. He had been with NBC News since 1995.

The announcement by NBC News president Deborah Turness ended months of speculation that Gregory’s time was running out on the program, which during his tenure has fallen from first to third place, ranking behind CBS’ "Face the Nation" and ABC’s "This Week."

Its ratings erosion felt even more pronounced since Gregory had followed the late Tim Russert, a popular, larger-than-life figure who became almost as much an institution as the program over which he presided for 16 years.


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He was its longest-serving moderator until his sudden death in June 2008. Under Russert, the show was by far the dominant program in its category.

In February 2013, the network signed Gregory to a new contract it described as "a long-term commitment."

But one published report in recent months stated that Gregory would be replaced after the midterm elections.

In her announcement, Turness offered her "sincerest thanks" to Gregory, while declaring that Todd "will ensure that ‘Meet the Press’ is the beating heart of politics, the place where newsmakers come to make news, where the agenda is set."

This official word followed by a couple of hours a Twitter post by Gregory himself that he was departing: "I leave NBC as I came -- humbled and grateful," he said.

NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell will serve as moderator this weekend.