Brian Williams

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For other people named Brian Williams, see Brian Williams (disambiguation).
Brian Williams
Brian Williams 2011 Shankbone.JPG
Williams at the 2011 Time 100 gala
Born Brian Douglas Williams
(1959-05-05) May 5, 1959 (age 55)
Elmira, New York, U.S.
Residence New Canaan, Connecticut
Education Brookdale Community College
George Washington University
The Catholic University of America
Occupation News Anchor and Managing Editor of NBC Nightly News
Years active 1981–present
Notable credit(s) NBC News reporter
(1993–2004)
NBC Nightly News weekend anchor (1993–1999)
NBC Nightly News anchor (2004–present)
Salary $10 million annually[1]
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) Jane Gillan Stoddard Williams (m. 1986)[2]
Children Allison Williams
Douglas Williams
Website
Profile on NBC News

Brian Douglas Williams (born May 5, 1959) is the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, the evening news program of the NBC television network, a position he assumed in 2004.[2]

Early life

Born in Elmira, New York, Williams was reared in a well-to-do Irish Catholic home.[3] He is the son of Dorothy May (née Pampel) and Gordon Lewis Williams, who was an executive vice president of the National Retail Merchants Association, in New York.[4][5] He is the youngest of four siblings.[6] During childhood, his family moved from his birthplace, Ridgewood, New Jersey,[7] to Elmira, New York. He lived in Elmira for ten years before moving to Middletown, New Jersey, when he was in junior high school.[8]

He graduated from Mater Dei High School, a Roman Catholic high school in the New Monmouth section of Middletown.[9] While in high school, he was a volunteer firefighter for three years at the Middletown Township Fire Department. His first job was as a busboy at Perkins Pancake House.[10]

After high school Williams attended Brookdale Community College, after which he transferred to The Catholic University of America, and then The George Washington University.[11] He did not graduate, and instead interned with the administration of President Jimmy Carter. He now calls leaving college one of his "great regrets".[12] Williams completed a total of 18 college credits.[13]

Early broadcast career

Williams first worked in broadcasting in 1981 at KOAM-TV in Pittsburg, Kansas. The following year he covered news in the Washington, D.C. area at TV station WTTG, then worked in Philadelphia for WCAU, then a CBS affiliate.[14] Beginning in 1987 he broadcast in New York City at WCBS. Williams joined NBC News in 1993, where he anchored the national Weekend Nightly News and was chief White House correspondent before serving as anchor and managing editor of The News With Brian Williams, broadcast on MSNBC and CNBC.[15]

Nightly News

Williams became anchor of NBC Nightly News on December 2, 2004, and his first year in that post was marked by coverage of two disasters: the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. NBC personnel felt that the program became his program (rather than predecessor Tom Brokaw's) with his coverage of the tsunami,[16] and his reporting on Katrina, including from inside the New Orleans Superdome, was given praise by industry observers.[17][18] His work helped earn NBC a Peabody Award,[19] the Peabody committee concluding that Williams and the Nightly News staff "exemplified the highest levels of journalistic excellence in reporting on Hurricane Katrina."[20] He also earned the George Polk Award for the extensive coverage of the hurricane.[18]

Nightly News fell behind ABC's World News in the first half of 2007. Nightly News regained the lead later in the year[21] and expanded it beginning in the fall of 2008.[22] Williams was compared by Jon Friedman of Marketwatch to Walter Cronkite.[23]

When Williams succeeded Tom Brokaw as anchor of NBC Nightly News, his annual salary was reported to be $8 million,[24] and by October 2006, it had reportedly increased to $10 million.[1]

Rock Center with Brian Williams

On Tuesday, October 4, 2011, it was announced that Williams would be the host of Rock Center with Brian Williams, a newsmagazine program premiering on Monday, October 31, 2011, at 10:00 pm Eastern, replacing the cancelled drama series The Playboy Club.[25] Named after the nickname of Rockefeller Center, the New York City landmark where NBC Radio City Studios are located, the program would become the first new NBC News program to launch in primetime in nearly two decades.[26]

NBC cancelled Rock Center on May 10, 2013, after low ratings and having trouble finding a permanent time slot for the program. The last show aired on June 21, 2013.[27] Williams reportedly felt "insulted" by the program's cancellation.[28]

Appearances

Williams frequently appears on The Daily Show as a celebrity guest interviewed by Jon Stewart. He appeared on the Weekend Update segment of Saturday Night Live on the season 32 premiere hosted by Dane Cook before hosting a season 33 episode on November 3, 2007, the last episode to air before the show went on a three-month hiatus due to the 2007-2008 Writers' Guild strike. With this episode, Williams is now the first and (so far) only network news anchor to host SNL.[29]

On February 22, 2010, while providing coverage of the Winter Olympics, Williams did a skit with Brian Williams, the Canadian sportscaster of CTV's on the CTV Olympic set.[30][31] Some in the media dubbed this the new "Battle of the Brians," as NBC's Williams compared his own modest set to CTV's expensive Olympic studio.[32]

Williams regularly appears on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, where he slow jams the news of the previous week as Fallon sings and reiterates what Williams says, with The Roots providing the musical backing. A mash-up video created by Fallon, where he appears to rap to hip-hop instrumentals, became viral within few hours.[33] He has also made numerous appearances on Late Show with David Letterman despite its being on CBS, a competing network. During an appearance on July 26, 2011, Williams demonstrated a skilled vocal impersonation of TV personality Regis Philbin. Williams has also appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien where he took part in numerous skits and interviews.

... And then I pull off my mask, and I'm a lizard person, too. Blackout. End of episode.

—Williams on 30 Rock, proposing a new NBC show to Jack Donaghy[34]

Williams also frequently made guest appearances on NBC's television comedy 30 Rock as a caricatured version of himself. In the episode "The Ones", he's seen at home receiving proposition calls meant for Tracy Jordan. In "Audition Day", he auditions to be a new TGS cast member. He also is seen once on the show taunting Tina Fey's character Liz Lemon. In April 2012, on the West Coast installment of the 30 Rock season 6 live show, Williams portrayed a news anchor covering the Apollo 13 story.

Williams appeared on Sesame Street in a 2007 episode, announcing the word of the day, squid, in a special broadcast. Williams appeared on Sesame Street again in a 2008 episode reporting for Sesame Street Nightly News about the Mine-itis outbreak where he becomes a victim of it. He also was the host of the 2009 Annual Sesame Workshop Benefit Gala.

In May 2012, Williams spoke at the George Washington University commencement on the National Mall.

He was the commencement speaker for Elon University's graduating class of 2013 of which his son Douglas was a member.

Personal life

Williams married his wife, Jane Gillan Williams (née Stoddard) at the First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan, Connecticut on June 7, 1986.[35]

He currently lives in New Canaan, Connecticut with his wife, Jane Gillan Stoddard Williams; two children, Allison and Douglas Williams; and two dogs.[36]

His daughter Allison is an actress who currently stars in HBO's Girls.

He received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Bates College in 2005.[37]

NASCAR

Williams is an avid fan of NASCAR in both the local and national levels. He was first exposed to auto racing as a child attending races on dirt tracks all over upstate New York. In 1999, Williams was the studio host of the first NASCAR race ever shown on NBC, the Pennzoil 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Two years later, at NASCAR's awards banquet in New York City, he introduced a videotaped tribute to Dale Earnhardt, who had died at the Daytona 500 some months earlier. Earnhardt and Williams had become close friends.

A 2012 promo for Rock Center with Brian Williams features a baseball motif, with the journalists' jerseys. Williams' jersey, similar to Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost, in honor of his Earnhardt friendship, carried #3.

New York Giants

Williams is a fan of the New York Giants NFL franchise. This became noticeable publicly during the Giants 2011 Super Bowl run during which Williams was noted for not only openly discussing his fandom, but also wearing a New York Giants jersey underneath his sports jacket and over his dress white shirt and gray tie, similar to a sweater.[38]

Television

Year Title Role First episode Notes
2009-2012 30 Rock Himself The Ones As Himself
2013 Family Guy Himself "Space Cadet" voice only
2013 The Soup Himself Himself As Himself

Career timeline

  • 1981: KOAM-TV
  • 1982–1986: WTTG-TV correspondent
  • 1985: Panorama Host
  • 1985–1987: WCAU-TV New Jersey correspondent
  • 1987–1993: WCBS-TV Anchor of weekday noon and weekend night newscasts; reporter

References

  1. ^ a b Movie & TV News @ IMDb.com - Studio Briefing - October 23, 2006
  2. ^ a b Brian Williams - Nightly News with Brian Williams - MSNBC.com
  3. ^ Albiniak, Page (November 1, 2009). "Questions for Brian Williams". New York Post. Retrieved 2010-10-07. "I come from a loud Irish-Catholic family." 
  4. ^ "Brian Williams Weds Jane Stoddard, TV Producer". The New York Times. June 8, 1986. 
  5. ^ http://www.bates.edu/commencement/annual/y2005/honorands/brian-williams/address-by-brian-williams/
  6. ^ Mullen, Shannon (2005-01-10). "Television: Brian Williams is living his dream as "Nightly News" anchor". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  7. ^ "Brian Williams - Meet the faces of MSNBC". MSNBC Interactive. MSNBC. March 18, 2003. Archived from the original on February 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-06. 
  8. ^ Strauss, Robert. "IN PERSON; The Life Of Brian, Annotated", The New York Times, October 27, 2002. Retrieved June 13, 2011. "Mr. Williams grew up in Mom-apple-pie-and-TV-trays style in Middletown, Monmouth County, a town of true middle class.... Mr. Williams, who was in junior high when the family moved there from Elmira, N.Y., was an average student who had his eyes on fast cars, fun summer jobs and hanging out at the local fire station, where he became a volunteer firefighter."
  9. ^ "Brian Williams". NOPAC Talent. Retrieved October 14, 2007. "Graduated from Mater Dei, a Roman Catholic High School in New Monmouth, NJ." 
  10. ^ The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Friday May 22, 2009
  11. ^ Strauss, Robert (October 27, 2002). "IN PERSON; The Life Of Brian, Annotated". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  12. ^ "Remarks by Brian Williams. Tulane University Commencement". May 19, 2007. 
  13. ^ Interview: Last Call with Carson Daly, NBC, May 20, 2011
  14. ^ David Chmiel, His Heart Belongs to Jersey, New Jersey Monthly, June 9, 2008
  15. ^ NBC News bio
  16. ^ Howard Kurtz, "NBC's Brian Williams, On Top of the News", Washington Post, December 5, 2005.
  17. ^ Bill Carter, "Storm and Crisis: The News Anchor; Career-Maker For Williams As the Anchor At NBC", New York Times, September 4, 2005.
  18. ^ a b Kurtz, Howard. Reality Show: Inside the Last Great Television News War. New York: Free, 2007. Print.
  19. ^ Brian Stelter, "A Year Later: TVNewsers On Katrina", mediabistro.com, August 31, 2006.
  20. ^ Peabody Awards, Coverage of Hurricane Katrina 2005, Organization: NBC News.
  21. ^ "Evening News Ratings: Williams Tops Gibson In November Sweeps", New York Times, December 4, 2007.
  22. ^ "A Matrix of News Winners Buoys NBC", New York Times, March 8, 2009.
  23. ^ Jon Friedman, "Brian Williams: a Cronkite for the 21st century", MarketWatch, June 2, 2010.
  24. ^ "Biography for Brian Williams (III)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  25. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (October 4, 2011). "NBC Cancels 'The Playboy Club'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  26. ^ "NBC cancels 'Playboy Club,' schedules 'Rock Center'". HitFix. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  27. ^ Bauder, David (May 10, 2013). "NBC cancels Williams' newsmagazine 'Rock Center'". Associated Press. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  28. ^ Stelter, Brian (June 21, 2013). "Disappointing Fall for 'Rock Center,' a News Program With Big Ambitions". The New York Times. 
  29. ^ "Brian Williams Hosts Saturday Night Live Tonight". WOAI. November 3, 2007. Retrieved September 1, 2010. 
  30. ^ "Williams skit lights up dull morning show". The Toronto Sun (torontosun.com). February 22, 2010. 
  31. ^ *Upload of "The Summit: Brian Williams and Brian Williams" video on YouTube
  32. ^ Vlessing, Etan (February 22, 2010). "Olympics has new Battle of the Brians". Hollywood Reporter. 
  33. ^ Maresca, Rachael. "Brian Williams raps to ‘Rapper's Delight’ on Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Tonight Show’". www.nydailynews.com. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  34. ^ Hubbard, Matt (writer); Riggi, John (director) (2011-02-03). "¡Qué Sorpresa!". 30 Rock. Season 5. NBC.
  35. ^ "Brian Williams Weds Jane Stoddard, TV Producer". New York Times. June 8, 1986. Retrieved October 26, 2012. 
  36. ^ "Brian Williams Biography-TV Guide". 
  37. ^ Bates Magazine-Degrees of Separation, "received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree" 
  38. ^ "Top Ten Celebrity New York Giants fans". 

FACT: Brian Williams was with WTTG through 1986 as a reporter and after his marriage to Jane Stoddard.

External links

Channel 12 News with Kyle Curtis


Media offices
Preceded by
Andrea Mitchell
NBC News Chief White House Correspondent
1994–1996
Succeeded by
David Bloom
Preceded by
Tom Brokaw
NBC Nightly News Anchor
December 2, 2004 – present
Succeeded by
incumbent