NBC Nightly News

NBC Nightly News Information

NBC Nightly News is the flagship daily evening television news program for NBC News and is the #1-rated newscast in America. NBC Nightly News airs live from Studio 3B at NBC Studios at 30 Rockefeller Center.

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 PM 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)

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, only two of whom anchored the program on a given night. Each evening's program included one news anchor in New York and one in Washington, 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.

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 The Today Show. 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 Walter Cronkite and the CBS Evening News had on the American news viewer. 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)

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)

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 PM Eastern. 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, Harry Smith, Carl Quintanilla, Hoda Kotb, and Natalie Morales. 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.

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, before going into the opening headlines read by Williams. This montage was discontinued on September 17, 2007.

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 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.

Weekend editions

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. 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:

  • Garrick Utley (1971-1973, Sundays, 1987-1990, Saturdays, 1990-1993)
  • Tom Brokaw (Saturdays, 1973"1976)
  • Floyd Kalber (Sundays, 1973"1975)
  • Tom Snyder (Sundays, 1975"1976)
  • Cassie Mackin (Sundays, 1976"1977)
  • John Hart (Saturdays, 1976"1977; Sundays, 1977"1980 and 1984-1986)
  • Jessica Savitch (Saturdays, 1977"1983)
  • Jane Pauley (Sundays, 1980"1982)
  • Connie Chung (Saturdays, 1983"1984, 1988)
  • Chris Wallace (Sundays, 1982"1984, 1986"1987)
  • Bob Jamieson (Saturdays, 1984"1987)
  • Maria Shriver (Saturdays, 1989"1990; Sundays, 1990"1993)
  • Brian Williams (weekends, 1993"1999)
  • John Seigenthaler (weekends, 1999"2007)
Lester Holt is the current weekend anchor, while Williams anchors the weekend editions if there is major news to report.

Nightly News is the only network evening newscast that airs at the same time on most affiliates, 6:30/5:30 p.m. ET/CT, seven nights a week thus allowing Nightly News to lead into NBC's Sunday primetime lineup at 7/6 p.m. ET/CT (in comparison, some ABC and CBS stations air the Sunday editions of their network's evening newscasts at 6/5 p.m. ET/CT). A small number of NBC affiliates preempt one or both weekend broadcasts; the number was much larger prior to the 1980s.


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.


  • "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)
  • "The Mission" by John Williams (September 9, 1985")




Specialist correspondents


Daily news anchor

Weekend news anchor

  • Lester Holt (NBC Nightly News weekend edition, weekday substitute anchor)

Substitute anchors

Nightly News in HD

NBC Nightly News began broadcasting in 1080i high definition on March 26, 2007. Most field footage was still shot in standard definition at the time while the network bureaus completed their own conversion to HD, which was all completed in 2009. The CBS Evening News began broadcasting in HD on January 7, 2008. ABC World News began broadcasting in HD on June 7, 2008, during its coverage of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

International broadcasts

In Europe, NBC Nightly News is broadcast live on CNBC Europe at 11.30pm 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. In Italy it is broadcast, translated into Italian, twice daily by ClassTV MSNBC.

In the Philippines, NBC Nightly News is shown Monday to Sunday at 7:30 am for the live (via satellite when DST happens) broadcast with replays at 11:30 am and 6:00 pm local time on Solar News Channel (formerly as Talk TV), it was formerly shown on GMA Network from 1970 to 1993, 2nd Avenue from 2005 to 2007 and C/S (now Solar TV) from 2008 to 2011.

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

In the Republic of Indonesia, it is broadcast live (or delayed) on RCTI daily from 05:30 until 06:00 WIB.

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

Notable incidents

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 forty 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. Despite the false alarm, Brian Williams remained anchoring 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. NBC Nightly News apologized for the incident on Twitter:



News Anchor & Managing Editor

Executive Producer

  • Pat Burkey
Senior Broadcast Producers

  • Aurelia Grayson
  • Samuel Singel


  • Brett Holey
Associate Director

  • Judith Farinet
  • Roberta Spring
Senior Producers

  • Andy Franklin (Foreign)
  • Tracey Lyons (Domestic)
  • Michael Mosher (Burbank)
  • Albert Oetgen (Washington DC)

Anchor Producer

  • Meghan Marcus
DPS Producers

  • Anne Binford Allen
  • Lauren Fairbanks

New York Producers

  • Laura Allenbaugh
  • Jane Derenowski
  • Clare Duffy
  • Mark Hudspeth
  • Joo Lee
  • Victor Limjoco
  • Kevin Monahan
  • Amber Payne
  • Christina Vallice
  • Kelly Venardos
  • Robert Windrem
  • Wonbo Woo
News Writers

  • Christine Colvin
  • Barbara Raab
  • Bradd Jaffe
NY Video Editors

  • Bob Croce
  • Rob Kaplan
  • Maggie Kassner
  • Barry Silverman

Website Producer

  • Robin Skolnick
Music by

  • John Williams
Graphic Designers

  • Joe Incorvaia (Art Director)



Executive Producer

  • Jamie Kraft
Senior Broadcast Producer

  • Jennifer Suozzo


  • Stephen Lucas
Associate Director

  • Roberta Spring

  • Buba Adschiew
  • Tom Dawson
  • Michelle Melnick
  • Mary Beth Toole

Graphic Designer

  • William Donovan (Art Director)
DPS Producer

  • Lauren Fairbanks
News Writer

  • Barbara Bernhard

Music by

  • John Williams

See also

  • CNBC

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "NBC_Nightly_News" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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