Tag Archives: NBC Nightly News

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.”

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.

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.

Remembering Katie

Do you remember the first time you saw Katie Couric on network television?

I do.

She was reporting live from the Pentagon during Operation Desert Shield.  She was young and fresh and sincere and, since my oldest brother was one of the first responders in Iraq, I appreciated her honesty and empathy.

Before you knew it, she was co-anchor of  “The Today Show.”  Her bubbly enthusiasm was a nice foil for Bryant Gumbel’s arrogant intelligence (tinged with warmth only when absolutely necessary).  When Matt Lauer replaced Bryant, the two developed a nice partnership.

Katie was in her element, and all was right with the world.

But her eye was on the ultimate prize — the nightly news desk.  The big boys’ chair.  As a former broadcast journalism major myself, I understood Katie’s drive to sit at the ultimate throne.  But I worried about what she would have to do to succeed there.

And look at her now.  Nearing the end of her contract, I barely recognize the woman who sits there.  In fact, she barely looks female.

Her haircut is atrocious.  (If you wanted to look like a man, Katie, congratulations.)  Your facial expression is stern.  Your personality drained of any resemblance to the warmth and connection to your audience that got you where you are today.

You tried to fit into this job, Katie, instead of making it your own.  And what do you have to show for it?

Third place ratings. Constant criticism about your performance and outrageous salary. And Diane Sawyer — another female nightly news anchor — coming in late in the game and doing it her way…better.

Leave the anchor desk, Katie, and go find yourself again. We liked that girl.

And I’ll bet you did, too.

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.