(CNN) - President Barack Obama will make his first Sunday show appearance in more than three years this week, as he and congressional leaders are down to the wire on reaching a deal to avert the fiscal cliff.
His appearance Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" will be his first Sunday show interview since September 2009, when he appeared on five networks to tout his health care law.
While Obama has sat for a number of formal interviews, the major Sunday shows have a tradition and reputation for pressing newsmakers on tough questions, and because of their length, delve deeper than some other interviews. Many of Obama's interviews during his re-election campaign were with local television and radio stations.
The 2009 appearances were an effort to pressure agreement on health care.
No doubt the White House is making Obama available on Sunday to pressure lawmakers to deal with the looming fiscal cliff.
In a late Friday statement, Obama said he is "modestly optimistic that an agreement can be achieved."
Absent a deal, tax cuts on income of all levels will expire and cuts to both defense and discretionary spending will automatically trigger in the new year.
The onus is now on Republicans in the Senate to reach a deal. Obama said that if one is not reached, he will urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to call for a vote on a scaled-back package.
The NBC program has been in the spotlight for host David Gregory's display of an empty gun magazine during a discussion of gun control on the program last Sunday. Magazines with a capacity of more than 10 ammunition rounds are illegal in Washington, where the show was broadcast, and police are investigating. NBC has made no comment.
– CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report