NBC Nightly News

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NBC Nightly News
NBC Nightly News titlecard.jpg
Title card for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams since February 27, 2012.
Format News program
Created by Reuven Frank
Presented by Weekdays:
Brian Williams (2004-present)
Weekends:
Lester Holt (2007–present)
Narrated by Bill Hanrahan (1970–1983)
Howard Reig (1983–2007)
Michael Douglas (2007–present)
Weekends:
Bill Wolff (2007–present)
Opening theme The Mission, composed by John Williams
Ending theme same as opening
Composer(s) John Williams
Country of origin United States
Production
Location(s) Studio 3B, NBC News Newsroom, GE Building
30 Rockefeller Center
Midtown Manhattan, Manhattan, New York City, New York 10112
United States[1]
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) NBC News
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
480i (16:9 SDTV)
Audio format Digital
Original run August 3, 1970 – present
Chronology
Preceded by Huntley-Brinkley Report
External links
Website

NBC Nightly News is the flagship daily evening television news program for NBC News, the news division of the NBC television network in the United States, and is the #1-rated newscast in America.[2] NBC Nightly News is produced from Studio 3B at NBC Studios at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Currently, weekday broadcasts are anchored by Brian Williams, and weekend editions are anchored by Lester Holt. On weeknights, it is broadcast live over most NBC stations from 6:30-7:00 p.m. Eastern and occasionally updated for Pacific Time Zone viewers in a "Western Edition". Its current theme music was composed by John Williams.

John Chancellor & David Brinkley (1970–1982)[edit]

Title card, 1972-1975.

The Huntley-Brinkley Report was renamed NBC Nightly News in August 1970 upon the retirement of Chet Huntley. At first, David Brinkley, John Chancellor, and Frank McGee formed a rotating troika. At least one, usually two, and very rarely all three anchored the program on a given night. Except for the few nights when one anchor soloed, each evening's program included one news anchor in New York City and one in Washington, D.C., as had been the case on Huntley-Brinkley. Brinkley's appearances were always from Washington and McGee's from New York. Chancellor moved between New York and Washington depending on his partner for the evening. Newscasts on Saturday and Sunday were known as NBC Saturday Night News and NBC Sunday Night News, respectively, until sometime in the 1970s.

Brinkley was a holdover from the Huntley-Brinkley Report, McGee had earned praise for his anchoring or co-anchoring of space flights, and Chancellor had also earned praise as McGee's co-anchor for the space missions of Apollo 12 and Apollo 13.

Brinkley provided commentary several times per week in the 1970s.

With network executives perceiving the instability of this arrangement as a factor in Nightly News losing audience share to the CBS Evening News, NBC discontinued the rotation, and McGee eventually took over for Hugh Downs as host of Today. Chancellor became the sole anchor on August 9, 1971, with Brinkley providing three-minute commentaries from Washington several times a week under the title David Brinkley's Journal. On June 7, 1976, NBC returned Brinkley to the anchor desk and tried the dual-anchor approach once again. Initially, Chancellor and Brinkley both reported from New York City, but Brinkley later returned to Washington. Chancellor again became sole anchor on October 10, 1979, and Brinkley provided commentaries again until leaving NBC for ABC in 1981, where he became host of that network's Sunday morning interview show This Week.

Despite the various changes, Chancellor was never able to break the grip that Walter Cronkite and the CBS Evening News had on the American news viewer, although Nightly News was sometimes a strong second place in the evening news ratings for most of the 1970s. After stepping down from the anchor desk on April 2, 1982, Chancellor remained as an editorial commentator on the program until his retirement in 1993.

Tom Brokaw (1982–2004)[edit]

On April 5, 1982, Tom Brokaw, who had been anchor of Today since 1976, took over in New York, while Roger Mudd became anchor in Washington. Mudd was dropped from the broadcast and Brokaw became the solo anchor of Nightly News on September 5, 1983, the same day that his ABC competitor, Peter Jennings, became sole anchor of World News Tonight. Brokaw's presence slowly attracted viewers, and during the 1990s, Nightly News battled for the viewership lead with ABC World News Tonight. By 1997, Nightly News had solidified its first place rating, a spot it would retain solely for ten years. The once-dominant CBS Evening News, anchored by Dan Rather, had lost a substantial portion of the audience it held during the Cronkite era and slid to third place in the viewership wars.

In May 2002, Brokaw announced his retirement as Nightly News anchor, to take effect shortly after the Presidential election of 2004. During this last presidential election coverage, NBC graphic designers created images of a giant electoral map on the Rockefeller Plaza ice-skating rink, and cherry-pickers tallied the electoral vote count on the GE Building. Brokaw's final broadcast took place on December 1, 2004, ending 22 years on the Nightly News desk and a 21-year run as the network's chief newsman – a record tenure in NBC's history. Brokaw was succeeded by Brian Williams the following day.

Brian Williams (2004–present)[edit]

Title card used from December 2, 2004-March 25, 2007

Williams, a frequent substitute for Brokaw, became the newscast's permanent anchor on December 2, 2004. The program held onto the #1 ratings spot from Williams' first day, averaging about 10 million viewers weekly until February 2007, when it slipped behind its closest competitor, World News with Charles Gibson. However, after a few months, Nightly News regained its lead. Since then, it is the only evening newscast to increase its audience, and has now been America's most-watched evening newscast for over a decade. According to Nielsen Media Research, it once again currently averages a weekly audience of approximately 10 million viewers.

A blog, The Daily Nightly, has been started to add insight into how the broadcast is put together. In addition, each full weekday broadcast is available for viewing that same night after 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. There is also a vodcast.

Williams rose to new levels of popularity for his live spot reporting during and after the 2005 hurricane season. Lester Holt, Ann Curry and Kate Snow often substitute for Williams when he is on vacation or on assignment; other substitute anchors include David Gregory, Savannah Guthrie, Tamron Hall, Harry Smith, Carl Quintanilla, Erica Hill, Hoda Kotb, Natalie Morales, and Jenna Bush Hager. Previous regular substitutes included John Seigenthaler, Campbell Brown and Amy Robach.

On December 4, 2006, Nightly News was presented with "limited commercial interruptions" by Philips. This marked the first time in its 36-year history that the newscast has experimented with reduced advertising.

NBC Nightly News control room.

With the transition to Williams, the show recognized its past in its opening seconds, with small photos of past anchors and sets and the voices of John Cameron Swayze, Huntley, Brinkley, Chancellor, and Brokaw, as well as an orchestral version of the "G-E-C" NBC Chimes serving as an intro bumper, before going into the opening headlines summary read by Williams. This montage was discontinued on September 17, 2007.

NBC Nightly News title card used from March 26-October 21, 2007 during the broadcast in HD.

NBC Nightly News began broadcasting in 1080i high definition on March 26, 2007. Most field footage continued to be shot in standard definition at the time, while the network's news bureaus converted to HD, which was completed in 2009 (the CBS Evening News began broadcasting in HD on January 7, 2008; ABC World News began broadcasting in HD on August 25, 2008, during its coverage of the 2008 Democratic National Convention).

The Nightly News set, in use since January 27, 1992 (Studio 3C), was retired on May 4, 2007. The broadcast's temporary location, Studio 8G, featured the same set used for Sunday Night Football broadcasts by NBC Sports. It was where NBC's 2006 congressional election coverage originated. The newly inaugurated Nightly News studio (3C) was reopened on October 22, 2007, after months of construction, along with cable network MSNBC at Studio 3A. On October 24, 2011, the broadcast moved to studio 3B, also the home of the now-cancelled Rock Center with Brian Williams.

Currently, Nightly News is the most watched newscast in the United States, with an average of 9.3 million viewers, just over a million more than its nearest rival, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer.[3]

Lester Holt (2013 Interim)[edit]

From August 6, 2013 to September 2, 2013, Williams was on medical leave in order to undergo knee replacement surgery. Weekend anchor Lester Holt was interim anchor in his absence.[4][5]

Williams returned on September 3, 2013.

Weekend editions[edit]

NBC first offered a Saturday evening newscast in 1961, with Sander Vanocur anchoring the NBC Saturday Night Report. Four years later, NBC correspondents Ray Scherer and Robert MacNeil were partnered at the anchor desk on The Scherer-MacNeil Report on Saturdays and continued until 1967. At that time, the network replaced it with a second weekend airing of The Frank McGee Report, which had been airing on Sundays for several years by that point.[6] The Saturday edition of the Report ran for about a year and a half.

On January 4, 1969, the Huntley-Brinkley Report was expanded to Saturday evening, with the main anchors working solo on alternating weeks. When lower-than-expected ratings occurred, the network pulled the pair off Saturdays and assigned others such as McGee and Vanocur. On August 2, 1970, two days after the weekday Huntley-Brinkley ended, the network expanded newscasts to Sunday evenings; this replaced the Sunday broadcast of The Frank McGee Report. For the first year after the Sunday night report began, Chancellor, Brinkley, and McGee rotated as on weeknights; there were no separate weekend anchors.

When Chancellor became sole anchor of the weeknight editions in August 1971, a separate anchor was named for the weekend editions. Weekend anchors have included the following:

Lester Holt is the current weekend anchor, while Williams occasionally anchors the weekend editions in the event of a major news story.

Nightly News is the only network evening newscast that airs at the same time on most affiliates, 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. CT, seven nights a week thus allowing the program to lead into NBC's Sunday primetime lineup at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT (in comparison, some ABC and CBS stations air the Sunday editions of their network's evening newscasts at 6 p.m. ET/5 p.m. CT). A small number of NBC affiliates preempt one or both weekend broadcasts; the number was much larger prior to the 1980s. The weekend editions of NBC Nightly News may occasionally be abbreviated (with segments and stories originally scheduled to be broadcast that night excised to account for the decreased running time) or preempted outright due to sports telecasts (such as golf tournament broadcasts and Notre Dame football broadcasts) that overrun into the program's timeslot or occasionally air immediately following the program (the latter pre-emption situation commonly affects stations in the Pacific and Mountain Time Zones).

Announcer[edit]

Bill Hanrahan handled the announcing duties for the newscast until his retirement in 1983, as he had done for the previous Huntley-Brinkley Report. The next announcer for the program was long-time NBC staff announcer Howard Reig. He retired to Florida in 2005, but a recording he made before his retirement was used until December 14, 2007. When the show was on the road or a new substitute anchor was used, Reig recorded a new introduction in a Miami studio. Since Holt took over as anchor, the weekend editions have been voiced by Bill Wolff, who had also worked occasionally on special weekday editions when Reig was unavailable. On December 17, 2007, the weeknight broadcast introduced an opening by Academy Award winning actor/producer Michael Douglas.[7]

Theme[edit]

  • "Huntley-Brinkley Report/NBC Nightly News Ticker" (August 3, 1970–November 10, 1972; the theme had been used since 1962, when the program was still The Huntley-Brinkley Report)
  • "NBC News Ticker" (November 13, 1972–April 22, 1977)
  • "NBC TV-Radio Newspulse" by Fred Weinberg Productions (April 25–September 5, 1977)
  • "NBC Nightly News" by Henry Mancini (September 6, 1977–April 2, 1982)
  • "NBC News" by Joseph Paul Sicurella, Tony Smythe, and Bob

Christianson (1979–1982 as a bumper; April 5, 1982–September 6, 1985 as main theme)

Anchors[edit]

Main anchors[edit]

Substitute anchors[edit]

Correspondents[edit]

National[edit]

International[edit]

Specialist correspondents[edit]

Political[edit]

Notable incidents[edit]

In September 2001, a letter containing anthrax was addressed to then NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw as part of the 2001 anthrax attacks. Brokaw was not harmed, but two NBC News employees were infected.

On April 18, 2007, NBC News received a package containing a "multimedia manifesto" from Cho Seung-hui, the gunman responsible for the Virginia Tech massacre that occurred two days earlier, the largest school shooting and spree killing in American history. Upon the package's discovery, NBC News handed the package over to federal authorities. The specific details of the package contained a DVD disc of Cho reading from a typed manifesto (also in the package), as well as more than 40 pictures of Cho brandishing weapons, including the two handguns believed to have been used in the massacre. Some of the package's contents were shown, albeit copied from the originals and edited for profanity, on the April 18 edition of NBC Nightly News, with anchor Brian Williams and NBC chief justice correspondent Pete Williams (no relation to Brian) examining the package's contents in the opening moments of the broadcast.

On November 29, 2011, a fire alarm went off in the studio a few seconds into the Nightly News Eastern Time Zone broadcast.[8] Despite the false alarm, Brian Williams continued to anchor throughout the entire broadcast. Once the fire alarm had been turned off, Williams redid the broadcast for the Mountain and Pacific time zones, and other select stations.[9] NBC Nightly News apologized for the incident on Twitter:

What timing... Fire alarm here at 30 Rock goes off at the exact same time we go on air. All is fine in the building & the show goes on. #NN [10]

International broadcasts[edit]

In Europe, NBC Nightly News is broadcast live on CNBC Europe at 12:30 p.m. CET / 11:30 p.m. GMT. It is also aired on the 24-hour news network OSN News in North Africa and the Middle East Monday through Friday as soon as the telecast finishes in the U.S; the weekend edition with Lester Holt is simulcast live.[11] In Italy, it is broadcast, translated into Italian, twice daily by ClassTV MSNBC.

In the Philippines, NBC Nightly News is shown Mondays to Fridays at 8:30 a.m local time after Solar Daybreak, and Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 a.m. local time with replays at 5:30 p.m. on Monday to Fridays and 5:30 a.m. on Mondays to Sundays local time on Solar News Channel (formerly as Talk TV).

In Hong Kong, it is live telecast transmission (or delayed) on TVB Pearl daily from 07:30 until 08:00 HKT (18:30 until 19:00 EST).

The East Coast feed is broadcast in the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda on VSB-TV, a local affiliate station.

NBC Nightly News is also available worldwide as a podcast in both audio and video form,[12] and can be streamed on demand from the NBC News website.[13]

Credits[edit]

Weekdays[edit]

Weekends[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Source: USPS.
  2. ^ Carter, Bill (2010-04-01). "Olympics Help NBC's News Shows to Ratings Win". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  3. ^ Ariens, Chris. "Evening News Ratings - TVNewser". Mediabistro.com. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  4. ^ Brian Williams takes off from 'NBC Nightly News' for knee surgery, Los Angeles Times, August 1, 2013.
  5. ^ Brian Williams Plans 'Nightly News' Return After Labor Day, The Hollywood Reporter, August 29, 2013.
  6. ^ Castleman and Podrazik, The TV Schedule Book, McGraw-Hill Paperbacks, 1984
  7. ^ "Michael Douglas is NBC 'Nightly News' announcer". USA Today. 18 December 2007. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  8. ^ Praetorius, Dean (November 30, 2011). "Brian Williams Fire Alarm Accident: Sirens Sound During 'NBC Nightly News' Broadcast (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. 
  9. ^ "Fire Alarm Interrupts ‘NBC Nightly News’ - TVNewser". Mediabistro.com. 2011-11-29. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  10. ^ https://twitter.com/#!/nbcnightlynews/status/141661930111778817
  11. ^ "OSN – News". Osn.com. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  12. ^ "Connecting to the iTunes Store". Itunes.apple.com. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  13. ^ Mark Wilson. "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams". Nbcnews.com. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 

External links[edit]