Tag Archives: Brian Williams

Family business

The broadcast and online media outlets have all gone gooey-eyed over the way NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams announced his own daughter Allison’s casting in the plum role of Peter Pan in the network’s upcoming live action production —

No tears here.

I demand that the full investigative reporting resources at NBC News be hurled at this story, which reeks of nepotism, entitlement and…dare I say, piracy.

J.M. Barrie said it best:

“Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you your daddy will sacrifice everything else for it.”

Seeing double

Brian Williams, you have a doppelganger.

And it only took me 14 years to notice.

This morning, while avoiding the news programs, I happened upon the 1997 Bette Midler-Dennis Farina farce That Old Feeling. It wasn’t that good the first time I saw it, but it’s still better than watching Today. So I let it run in the background while I ate breakfast and checked email.

A young James Denton plays the groom in the wedding that begins the film. I had kinda forgotten that detail. So today I did a serious double take — it looked like NBC News anchor Brian Williams on screen!

Now, I’ll admit, when you look at them side-by-side, the differences are more apparent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James — or Jamie as he called himself at the time — has more even features and works it a bit harder in the smolder department.   (He was on Desperate Housewives, after all; he has a lot of practice.)

But if I didn’t know who the two men were, and someone introduced them as brothers, I would totally believe it.  Wouldn’t you?

No need to thank me when ‘Doppelganger Day’ rolls around on Facebook next year, guys.  It was my pleasure.

 

King of cameo

Move over, Jon Stewart.  Stephen Colbert, this is the word:

Brian Williams, anchor of “NBC Nightly News.”

We know he’s funny.  He was the first news anchor invited to host “Saturday Night Live” …and he killed it.  Now he’s popping up everywhere, adding his dry wit all over the television lineup.

In case your DVR isn’t quite as active as mine — hey, TV viewing makes you more well-rounded — here are some choice scenes from recent weeks you may have missed.

  • On last night’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” Brian ‘slow jammed’ the news headlines with Jimmy and the Roots.  See how Brian counters a shot at his manhood from Jimmy.
  • Last Thursday, Brian popped up again on Jimmy Fallon, this time to pay homage to guest Jon Hamm.  (Apparently, Brian is a big “Mad Man” fan.)  The entire episode is online; Jon pops up — complete with Brian cameo — at the 19:00 mark.
  • Brian even crossed the aisle and visited “Late Show with David Letterman” last month, where David tortured him about doing Jay Leno.  Be sure and watch the entire clip — the ending is classic.

I’ve even spied him doing shtick on the plaza on “Today.”  A cameo from Brian is a hit every time.

Brian, if it were up to me, you would be the host for tonight’s season premiere of “Saturday Night Live”…but since the show went another way, I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed that you’ll ‘pop up’ later this year.

Gotta gotta go

Matt Lauer, you are a man with a target on your back.

Your contract with “Today” doesn’t end until spring of next year, and already there’s chatter about your potential replacements should you choose to leave.  (Your rumored marital trouble has added fuel to that fire, no doubt.)

Jon Friedman at MarketWatch.com wants to swap you for a girl…and from one of NBC’s own sister networks.  He makes a case — after thoughtfully arguing the pros and cons — for Erin Burnett.  Working on CNBC’s financial news network, Burnett can “enliven the often boring, numbers-laden day,” says Friedman.  Plus, she needs to be promoted or the network could lose her.

All good points, I’m sure.

But Matt, if you should choose to leave — and it sounds like you may need to spend more time at home — we both know the right man to take over at the “Today” desk.

David Gregory.  The Gregster.  The I-can-cover-politics-like-no-one-else-and-still-dance-like-a-mad-man-at-the-Toyota-Concert-Series current back-up anchor extraordinaire.

David Gregory has the journalist cred of a Brian Williams, and the fun, playful sense of humor of…a Brian Williams.  “Today” won’t let that opportunity slip by, will it?

NBC has gotta go with Gregory if you, Matt, decide…ya gotta go.

The other Brian

You are no doubt are familiar with “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams.

And if you have ever seen him on TV programs outside of the news — on “Today” or his now legendary hosting appearance on “Saturday Night Live” — you know that Brian has a killer sense of humor.

I think he may be the first and only network news anchor who is really funny.

Brian doesn’t take himself too seriously, and that’s key.  His work at the Vancouver Winter Olympics confirms that.

He’s still doing the news from Vancouver, but he’s doing some fun stuff, too.  In fact, there is a Canadian news anchor who is also named Brian Williams…and our Brian Williams did a piece to introduce Canadian Brian Williams to the US audience.

It’s indicative of Brian Williams’ sense of humor — that’s our Brian Williams…as in the “NBC Nightly News” anchor version.

Anyhoo, take a look.  It’s worth your time.  (If you go to the link, scroll halfway down the page for the video.)

NBC may be a screw up network these days, but they got Brian Williams right.

Bow out

I don’t watch Oprah.  Never have.

So, I wasn’t aware she had announced plans yesterday to cease production of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” at the end of 2010 until a friend mentioned it later in the day.

Did you realize “The Oprah Winfrey Show” has been on the air for almost 25 years?  Twenty-five years…it seems like only yesterday she took her Chicago show national.  And now she is calling it quits because — as she told the audience — ” it feels right spiritually.”

I respect her for quitting while she’s still on top.  I think the best ones do.  Look at Johnny Carson.  He left “The Tonight Show” and quietly returned to private life.

Or Tom Brokaw.  He left NBC Nightly News in Brian Williams’ capable hands and has gone on to write books and host a special now and then.  He is not as invisible as Carson was, but he has left the day-to-day consciousness of the viewing audience.

But is Oprah really leaving?  Rumor has it she’s shutting down her daily talk show to start a new network where she plans to launch yet another talk show. That doesn’t exactly sound like she’s leaving daytime television.  And it certainly makes a mockery of the tearful speech she gave to her studio audience on Friday.

Oprah’s situation sounds a bit familiar, too.  What is it…oh yeah!  Jay Leno.  He supposedly left “The Tonight Show” to heir apparent Conan O’Brien.  And then three months later — BAM! — he pops up 90 minutes earlier doing a pretty darn similar show, Monday through Friday, on the very same network.  Too bad it sucks.

Why can’t these people simply leave?  Don’t they realize by coming back and doing lame copies of their original work they risk destroying their earlier legacy?

Everyone loves an audience, guys, but be careful — yours may turn on you.