NBC Nightly News

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NBC Nightly News is a news program broadcast on the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) network. The newscast inaugurated its current thirty-minute format on August 1, 1970. NBC Nightly News is broadcasted seven days a week at 6:30 P.M. ET. Over its thirty-seven-year history the program has had seven anchors. Recently, Brian Williams replaced Tom Brokaw who had anchored the show for twenty four years.



Good night, David...
Good night, Chet!

— Chet Huntley
& David Brinkley

What is now known as NBC Nightly News started at the National Broadcasting Company in 1948, when one of NBC’s affiliate stations started airing newsreels produced by Paul Alley. These newsreels were the first television newsreels produced, and were titled 20th Century Fox-Movietone News. In 1948, NBC produced their first news show, the Camel Caravan Show, which was anchored by NBC'S John Cameron Swayze, this show gave commentary, interviews, and live coverage that newsreels did not offer. In 1956, NBC producer Reuven Frank put together an anchor team to cover the Democratic and Republican Presidential conventions. Impressed by their past work together in newsreels, Frank asked reporters David Brinkley and Chet Huntley to co-anchor NBC’s convention coverage. A few months later NBC created The Huntley-Brinkley Report, a 15-minute report consisted of segments in which individuals talked about the day’s events. The two newscasters anchored from two different locations, one in New York, and the other in Washington, D.C.. During the broadcast they would switch back and forth as they reported on the day's news. The newscast became the most watched television show in America, with over 20 million viewers.[1] At the end of each broadcast the co-anchors would say the now-famous phase, "Good night, David...Good night, Chet." In 1963, the NBC evening news program was expanded from fifteen to thirty minutes. Although extended duration moved the program closer NBC Nightly News's current format, the presentation still differed.


On August 1, 1970, Chet Huntley left the newscast. NBC renamed the show, which was now only anchored by David Brinkley, NBC Nightly News. Over the course of The Huntley-Brinkley Report, the show earned eight Emmy awards. The anchors continued their farewell at the end of each newscast, until their last newscast together in 1970 when Huntley's "Good night, David" brought the response, "...Good bye, Chet." Now sole anchor of the newly named Nightly News with David Brinkley, Brinkley became restless with the network. He hated going to New York, NBC’s headquarters, to do the news reporting. He soon earned the name of the ‘grumpy old newsman’ at NBC.[2] Brinkley left Nightly News as anchor in August 1971. NBC replaced him with a long-time reporter for the network, John Chancellor. Some viewers found Chancellor's anchorage of NBC Nightly News dry. During Chancellor's time at the network, David Brinkley also served as a commentator, thus resulting in,Nightly News with John Chancellor and commenter David Brinkley. In 1979, when Brinkley left the news, Chancellor became sole anchor of the news show. NBC Nightly News with John Chancellor ended in 1982.


Trying to regain the success of the Brinkley-Huntley pairing, NBC teamed up reporters Tom Brokaw, and Roger Mudd for Nightly News. The two lacked chemistry and the ratings for the network news show began to fall. In 1983, NBC placed former Washington correspondent, Tom Brokaw, as sole anchor of the network’s newscast. Brokaw remained as anchor for 22 years. Nightly News with Tom Brokaw ended in 2004, when Brokaw stepped down as anchor. He was replaced by Brian Williams.


Anchor Time Name
John Cameron Swayze 1948-1956 "20th Century Fox-Movietone News"
Chet Huntley 1956-1970 "The Huntley-Brinkley Report"
David Brinkley 1956-1979 "The Huntley-Brinkley Report", "NBC Nightly News with David Brinkley"
John Chancellor 1971-1982 "Nightly News with John Chancellor and commenter David Burkley", "NBC Nightly News with John Chancellor"
Roger Mudd 1982-1983 "NBC Nightly News with co-anchors Tom Brokaw and Roger Mudd"
Tom Brokaw 1982-2004 "NBC Nightly News with co-anchors Tom Brokaw and Roger Mudd" / "NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw"
Brian Williams 2004–present NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams



From its beginning, Nightly News has earned high television ratings. The news show's predecessor, The Huntley-Brinkley Report, was viewed by an audience of twenty million at its peak, and was the most watched show on television.[3] After its ratings began to nosedive in the early 1980s, the organization looked for new leadership.[4] When Tom Brokaw became anchor, NBC moved back into first place among nightly news programs.


When Brian Williams became the seventh anchor of the show he began at the top of the ratings, where "Nightly News" had been since 1997. However, the network soon began losing viewers as its competitor, ABC News gained first place in ratings. During a thirty-nine week period, Nightly News with Brain Williams has lost over 533,000 viewers. The loss of viewers was even greater than CBS News, which was also losing ratings with their new anchor Katie Couric. Williams said: "It is predictable...This is why I haven't allowed any champagne toasts in the newsroom when the ratings have been flawless and spectacular and joyous. This is a back-and-forth dogfight.[5]"


Conservatives claim that NBC Nightly News shares the mainstream liberal media bias, which portrays conservatives in a negative light. Larry Grossman, former President of NBC News said in an interview with the Public Broadcasting Service; that the employees at NBC tend to be Democrats:

"The fact is most reporters are skeptical. They are -- tend to be slightly anti-establishment, but not much because they all went to college. They all are making a lot of money, in television certainly, so they reflect everybody else's views. They are the echo chamber of conventional wisdom, by and large. They don't allow their liberalism -- most of them vote Democrat, I have no doubt. Most of them tend to be more liberal than more conservative -- although that is changing, because they're reflecting the nature of the society, which is becoming more conservative.[6]

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