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NBC Nightly News is the daily evening news program for NBC News and broadcasts from the GE Buildingmarker, Rockefeller Centermarker in New York Citymarker. It has been known by this name since August 3, 1970. Currently, weekday broadcasts are anchored by Brian Williams, and weekend editions of the show are anchored by Lester Holt. The program originates from NBC's Studio 3C, which is connected to the network's central newsroom. On weeknights, it is broadcast live over most NBC stations from 6:30pm to 7:00pm Eastern Time and occasionally updated for Pacific Time Zone viewers in a "Western Edition." Its current theme music was composed by renowned composer John Williams. As of 2009, it has been the highest rated newscast in Americamarker for over a decade.

The John Chancellor/David Brinkley era (1970–1982)

NBC Nightly News open, 1972-1976.
NBC Nightly News succeeded the Huntley-Brinkley Report 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 anchor in New Yorkmarker and one in Washingtonmarker. Brinkley's appearances were always from Washington and McGee's from New York. Chancellor moved between New York and Washingtonmarker 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.

David Brinkley provided commentary several times per week during the 1970s on NBC Nightly News.
With network executives perceiving the instability of this arrangement as a factor in Nightly News audience to 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. On November 17, 1980, Roger Mudd, after CBS passed him over as successor to Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News in favor of Dan Rather, took over the NBC Washington desk, co-anchoring with Chancellor.

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.

The Tom Brokaw era (1982–2004)

On April 5, 1982, Tom Brokaw, who had been anchor of The Today Show since 1976, took over in New York, while Roger Mudd continued in Washington. He 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, NN battled for the viewership lead with ABC World News Tonight. By 1997, NN 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 anchor of NN, 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 NN 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.

The Brian Williams era (2004–present)

Former NBC Nightly News title card, used from November 2004-March 2007
Brian Williams, a frequent substitute anchor for Brokaw, became the newscast's permanent anchor on December 2, 2004. The program held onto the number 1 ratings spot from Williams' start in December 2004, 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, NN regained its lead. Since, NN 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, NN currently averages a weekly audience of 8.5 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 p.m. Eastern time. Because Brian Williams introduced to the audience the daily blog "The Daily Nightly", he also announced the arrival of a vodcast of NN.

Williams rose to new levels of popularity for his live spot reporting during and after the 2005 Hurricane season. Ann Curry or Lester Holt often substitute for Williams when he is on vacation or on assignment. Other substitute anchors include David Gregory Hoda Kotb and Amy Robach.

On December 4, 2006, NN 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 beginning with the September 17, 2007 edition.

The NN set, in use since January 27, 1992 (Studio 3C), was retired on the broadcast of 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 a cable network MSNBC at Studio 3A.

Nielsen ratings for March 2009 showed NN finishing third in the New York Citymarker market, behind ABC World News and the CBS Evening News.

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; the broadcast was renamed NBC Saturday Night News. On August 2, 1970, two days after the weekday Huntley-Brinkley ended, the network expanded newscasts to Sunday evenings, named NBC Sunday NIght News; this replaced the Sunday broadcast of The Frank McGee Report. For the first year after the Sunday night report began, NBC had Chancellor, Brinkley, and McGee rotate in the same manner as on weeknights; there were no separate weekend anchors.

When John Chancellor became sole anchor of the weeknight editions in August 1971, Garrick Utley anchored both weekend broadcasts until he was assigned to London two years later. He later returned as anchor of the Sunday broadcast. Former anchors in addition to Utley (Saturdays and Sundays, 1971-1973; Sundays, 1984-1986 & 1987-1989) include 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), Jessica Savitch (Saturdays, 1977-1983), Jane Pauley (Sundays, 1980-1982), Connie Chung (Saturdays, 1983-1984), Chris Wallace (Sundays, 1982-1984, 1986-1987), Bob Jamieson (Saturdays, 1984-1987), John Palmer (Saturdays, 1987-1990), Maria Shriver (Sundays, 1987-1993), Mary Alice Williams (Saturdays, 1990-1993), Brian Williams (Saturdays, 1993-1999), and John Seigenthaler (Weekends, 1999-2007). Lester Holt is the current NN weekend anchor.


In the early years of NN, Bill Hanrahan handled the announcing duties for the newscast, as he had done for the previous Huntley-Brinkley Report. Following Hanrahan's retirement in 1983, the 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 Miamimarker studio. Since Holt took over as anchor, the weekend editions have been voiced by Les Marshak, who had also worked occasionally on special weekday editions when Reig was unavailable. On December 17, 2007, NN debuted a new announcer: Academy Award winning actor/producer Michael Douglas.

Sample announcer intros

  • When Brian Williams is anchoring in New York...
"From NBC News World Headquarters in New York, this is NBC Nightly News, with Brian Williams." -Michael Douglas
  • On weekends...
"From NBC News World Headquarters in New York, this is NBC Nightly News, with Lester Holt." -Les Marshak
  • When anchoring in Washington...
"This is NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, reporting tonight from Washington" -Michael Douglas
  • When anchoring in Los Angeles...
"This is NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, reporting tonight from Los Angeles" -Michael Douglas
  • When anchoring from elsewhere:
"This is NBC Nightly News, with Brian Williams;" -Michael Douglas; Brian Williams then greets viewers, mentioning where he is ("Good evening from London...")
  • When the broadcast has a substitute anchor (on weekdays)...
"From NBC News World Headquarters in New York, this is NBC Nightly News, with Brian Williams." -Michael Douglas; the substitute anchor then introduces himself/herself (Example: "Good evening, I'm Lester Holt, in tonight for Brian Williams.")

On the weekdays since June 2009 and on weekends, a substitute anchor is named in the announcer intro: Weekday Subsitute: "This is NBC Nightly News, with Brian Williams. Substituting tonight, David Gregory." Weekend Subsitute: "This NBC Nightly News, with Lester Holt. Subsituting tonight, Ann Curry."

Theme music

  • "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 known as 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 the main theme)
  • "The Mission," by John Williams (September 9, 1985– )


National correspondents

International correspondents

  • Dawna Friesen (London)
  • Stephanie Gosk (London)
  • Jim Maceda (London)
  • Ian Williams (Bangkok)

Specialist correspondents for NBC Nightly News

  • Robert Bazell (Chief Science Correspondent)
  • Tom Brokaw
  • Lisa Myers ( Senior Investigative Correspondent)

  • Dr. Nancy Snyderman (Chief Medical Editor and the host of MSNBC's Dr. Nancy)
  • Anne Thompson (Chief Environmental Affairs Correspondent)
  • Pete Williams (Chief Justice Correspondent)

Political correspondents

  • Andrea Mitchell (Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent/host of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports)
  • Chuck Todd (Chief White House Correspondent, Political Director, NBC News)
  • Pete Williams (Justice Correspondent)

Weekend anchor

  • Lester Holt (Nightly News Weekend Edition/Today Weekend Edition)

Guest anchors

Nightly News in HD

Previous NBC Nightly News title card, used from March 2007-October 2007 during the broadcast in HD.
NBC Nightly News began broadcasting in 1080i high definition on March 26, 2007. Most field footage is still shot in standard definition while the network bureaus complete their own conversion to HD, set to be completed in 2009. The CBS Evening News began broadcasting in HD on July 28, 2008. ABC began broadcasting in HD on August 26, 2008, during its coverage of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Broadcasts outside U.S.

In Europe, NBC Nightly News is shown live on CNBC Europe at 11.30pm GMT. NBC News programming is also shown for several hours a day on the 24 hour news network Orbit News in Europe and the Middle East. In the Philippines, NBC Nightly News is shown Mon. to Sun. at 4:00 PM, 1:30 AM & 8:30 AM local time on C/S 9. In Japan, NBC Nightly News is shown on NTV NEWS 24. It is televised at 7:30 pm Atlantic time on VSB-TV in Bermudamarker.Belizemarker's Tropical Vision Limited carries NBC Nightly News at 7:30 p.m. CST Mondays-Fridays and the Saturday edition with Lester Holt at 6:30 p.m. CST. In Latin America, NBC Nightly News is broadcast by CNBC Latin America.

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 wasn't 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 massacremarker 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 packages contents were shown, albeit copied from the originals and edited for profanity, on the April 18th 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.



Anchor & Managing Editor

Executive Producer
  • Bob Epstein

Senior Broadcast Producer
  • Aurelia Grayson

  • Brett Holey

Associate Director
  • Roberta Spring
  • Juith Farrinet (substitute)

Senior Producers
  • M.L. Flynn (Foreign)
  • Tracey Lyons (Domestic)
  • Mike Mosher
  • Albert Oetgen

Anchor Producer
  • Subrata De

Tape Producers
  • Anne Binford Allen
  • Robin Skolnick

New York Producers
  • Maria Eugenia Alcon
  • Donna Bass
  • Marisa Buchanan
  • Clare Duffy
  • Mario Garcia
  • Joo Lee
  • Kelly Venardos
  • Robert Windrem

News Writers
  • Christine Colvin
  • Barbara Raab

  • Rob Kaplan
  • Bob Croce
  • Jody Henenfeld
  • Beverly Chase
  • Maggie Kassner

Website Producer
  • Sam Singal

Music by

Graphic Designers
  • Joe Incorvaia (Art Director)
  • Collin Pisarra (Assistant Art Director)



Executive Producer
  • Pat Burkey

Senior Broadcast Producer
  • Sam Singal

  • Stephen Lucas

Associate Director
  • Roberta Spring

  • Buba Adschiew
  • Carol Eggers
  • Tom Dawson
  • Anthony Galloway
  • Mary Beth Toole

Graphic Designer
  • William Donovan (Art Director)

Tape Producer
  • Lauren Fairbanks

News Writer
  • Barbara Bernhard

Music by

See also

External links


  2. Castleman and Podrazik, The TV Schedule Book, McGraw-Hill Paperbacks, 1984

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