Brian Douglas Williams (born May 5, 1959) is the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, the evening news program of the NBC television network, a position he assumed in 2004. Williams was listed among Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2007, and in 2010, a prominent media observer dubbed him "the Walter Cronkite of the 21st century."
Williams was reared in a middle-class Irish Catholic home.His father, Gordon L. Williams, was an executive vice president of the National Retail Merchants Association, in New York. During childhood, his family moved from his birthplace, Ridgewood, New Jersey, to Elmira, New York. He lived in Elmira for ten years before moving to Middletown, New Jersey, when he was in junior high school.
He graduated from Mater Dei High School, a Roman Catholic high school in the New Monmouth section of Middletown. While in high school, he was a volunteer firefighter for three years at the Middletown Township Fire Department. His first job was as a busboy at Perkins Pancake House.
After high school Wiliams attended Brookdale Community College, after which he transferred to The Catholic University of America, and then The George Washington University. He did not graduate, and instead interned with the administration of President Jimmy Carter. He now calls leaving college one of his "great regrets". Brian Williams completed a total of 18 college credits."
Williams became anchor of NBC Nightly News on December 2, 2004, and his first year in that post was marked by coverage of two disasters: the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. NBC personnel felt that the program became his program (rather than predecessor Tom Brokaw's) with his coverage of the tsunami, and his reporting on Katrina, including from inside the New Orleans Superdome, was given praise by industry observers. His work helped earn NBC a Peabody Award, the Peabody committee concluding that Williams and the Nightly News staff "exemplified the highest levels of journalistic excellence in reporting on Hurricane Katrina."
Nightly News fell behind ABC's World News in the first half of 2007. Nightly News regained the lead later in the year and expanded it beginning in the fall of 2008. Williams was compared by Jon Friedman of Marketwatch to Walter Cronkite.
When Williams succeeded Tom Brokaw as anchor of NBC Nightly News, his annual salary was reported to be $8 million, and by October 2006, it had reportedly increased to $10 million. He occasionally fills in for Lester Holt on weekends when needed.
On Sunday, May 1, 2011, Williams anchored a simulcast between all NBC affiliates and MSNBC covering the death of Osama bin Laden, going on air before 11:30 pm and continuing coverage until at least 2:00 am.
Rock Center with Brian WilliamsEdit
On Tuesday, October 4, 2011, it was announced that Williams would be the host of Rock Center with Brian Williams, a newsmagazine program premiering on Monday, October 31, 2011, at 10:00 pm Eastern, replacing the cancelled drama series The Playboy Club. Named after the nickname of Rockefeller Center, the New York City landmark where NBC Radio City Studios are located, the program would become the first new NBC News program to launch in primetime in nearly two decades.
Williams frequently appears on The Daily Show as a celebrity guest interviewed by Jon Stewart. He appeared on the Weekend Update segment of Saturday Night Live before hosting the program on November 3, 2007.
Williams regularly appears on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, where he slow jams the news of the previous week as Fallon sings and reiterates what Williams says, with The Roots providing the musical backing. He has also made numerous appearances on Late Show with David Letterman despite its being on CBS, a competing network. During an appearance on July 26, 2011, Williams demonstrated a skilled vocal impersonation of TV personality Regis Philbin. Williams has also appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien where he took part in numerous skits and interviews.
|“||... And then I pull off my mask, and I'm a lizard person, too. Blackout. End of episode.||”|
Williams also frequently makes guest appearances on NBC's television comedy 30 Rock as a caricatured version of himself. In the episode The Ones, he's seen at home receiving proposition calls meant for Tracy Jordan. InAudition Day, he auditions to be a new TGS cast member. He also is seen once on the show taunting a CNBC news host. In April 2012, on the West Coast installment of the 30 Rock season 6 live show, Williams portrayed a news anchor covering the Apollo 13 story.
Williams appeared on Sesame Street in a 2007 episode, announcing the word of the day, squid, in a special broadcast. Williams appeared on Sesame Street again in a 2008 episode reporting for Sesame Street Nightly News about the Mine-itis outbreak where he becomes a victim of it. He also was the host of the 2009 Annual Sesame Workshop Benefit Gala.
Williams is an avid fan of NASCAR in both the local and national levels. He was first exposed to auto racing as a child attending races on dirt tracks all over upstate New York. In 1999, Williams was the studio host of the first NASCAR race ever shown on NBC, the Pennzoil 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Two years later, at NASCAR's awards banquet in New York City, he introduced a videotaped tribute to Dale Earnhardt, who had died at the Daytona 500 some months earlier. Earnhardt and Williams had become close friends.
A 2012 promo for Rock Center with Brian Williams features a baseball motif, with the journalists' jerseys. Williams' jersey, similar to Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost, in honor of his Earnhardt friendship, carried #3.
New York GiantsEdit
Brian Williams has shown himself to be a fan of the New York Giants NFL franchise. This became noticeable publicly during the Giants 2011 Super Bowl run during which Williams was noted for not only openly discussing his fandom, but also wearing a New York Giants jersey underneath his sports jacket and over his dress shirt and tie, similar to a sweater.
- 1981: KOAM-TV
- 1982–1984: WTTG-TV correspondent
- 1985: Panorama Host
- 1985–1987: WCAU-TV New Jersey correspondent
- 1987–1993: WCBS-TV Anchor of weekday noon and weekend night newscasts; reporter
- 1993–1994: NBC News correspondent
- 1994–1996: NBC News White House correspondent
- 1996–2004: The News with Brian Williams anchor
- 2004–present: NBC Nightly News anchor
- 2011–present: Rock Center with Brian Williams host