NBC News

NBC News
NBC News
The headquarters of NBC News at the GE Building 30 Rockefeller Center.
Division of: National Broadcasting Company (NBC)
Key people: Steve Burke,
President & CEO
Steve Capus,
President of NBC News
Brian Williams,
Lead Anchor
Founded: February 21, 1940
Headquarters: Studio 3C, NBC News News Room
GE Building 30 Rockefeller Center
Midtown Manhattan, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States
Major Bureaus: International Headquarters,
Studio 3C, NBC News News Room
GE Building 30 Rockefeller Center
Midtown Manhattan, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States

West Coast Headquarters,
Burbank, California, United States
Governmental Affairs Headquarters,
Washington, D.C., United States
European Headquarters
London, UK
Asia Pacific Headquarters
Hong Kong
Area served: Worldwide
Broadcast programs: Dateline NBC
Early Today
Meet the Press
NBC Daily Connection
NBC Nightly News
Weekend Today
Parent: NBCUniversal
Website: msnbc.msn.com
Web Portal: msn.com
NBC News logo, 1959-1972

NBC News is the news division of American television network NBC. It first started broadcasting in February 21, 1940. NBC Nightly News has aired from Studio 3B, located on floors 3 of the NBC Studios is the headquarters of the GE Building forms the centerpiece of 30th Rockefeller Center it is located in the center of Midtown Manhattan is an area of Manhattan in New York City and continued to grow for much of the 20th century. It currently claims the highest ratings for its morning, evening, and Sunday interview programs. Its current president is Steve Capus.



Caravan era

The first American television newscast in history was made by NBC News on February 21, 1940, anchored by Lowell Thomas and airing weeknights at 6:45 pm.[1] In June 1940, NBC, through its flagship station in New York City, W2XBS (renamed commercial WNBT in 1941, now WNBC) operating on channel one, televised thirty and a quarter hours of coverage of the Republican National Convention live and direct from Philadelphia. The station used a series of relays from Philadelphia to New York and on to upper New York State, for re-broadcast on W2XB Schenectady (now WRGB), making this among the first "network" programs of NBC Television. Due to wartime restrictions, there were no live telecasts of the 1944 conventions, although films of the events were reportedly shown over WNBT the next day.

In 1948, NBC teamed up with Life magazine to provide election night coverage of President Harry S. Truman's surprising victory over New York Gov. Thomas E. Dewey. The television audience was small, but NBC's share in New York was double that of any other outlet.[2] The following year, the Camel News Caravan, anchored by John Cameron Swayze, began on NBC. Lacking the graphics and technology of later years, it nonetheless contained many of the elements of modern newscasts.[3] NBC hired its own film crews and in the program's early years, it dominated CBS's competing program, which did not hire its own film crews until 1953.[3] (By contrast, CBS spent lavishly on Edward R. Murrow's weekly series, See It Now.[3]) In 1950, David Brinkley began serving as the program's Washington correspondent but attracted little attention outside the network until paired with Chet Huntley in 1956.[4] In 1955, the Camel News Caravan fell behind CBS's Douglas Edwards with the News, and Swayze lost the already tepid support of NBC executives.[3] The following year, NBC replaced the program with the Huntley-Brinkley Report.

Beginning in 1951, NBC News was managed by Bill McAndrew, Director of News, who reported to J. Davidson Taylor, Vice President of News and Public Affairs.[5]

Huntley-Brinkley era

As television assumed an increasingly prominent role in American family life in the late 1950s, NBC News became television's "champion of news coverage."[6] NBC President Robert Kintner believed that a dominant NBC News could lift his entire network to the top, and he provided the news division with ample amounts of both financial resources and air time.[3] In 1956, the network paired anchors Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, and the two went on to acquire great celebrity.[4] They were supported by a strong bench of reporters that over time included John Chancellor, Frank McGee, Edwin Newman, Sander Vanocur, Nancy Dickerson, Tom Pettit, and Ray Scherer.

Created by producer Reuven Frank, NBC's Huntley-Brinkley Report, anchored by the team of Chet Huntley in New York and David Brinkley in Washington, began in 1956 and soon set the standard for evening news programs. During much of its 14-year run, it exceeded the viewership levels attained by its CBS News competition, anchored initially by Douglas Edwards and, beginning in 1962, by Walter Cronkite.

NBC stood out for its reporting on the civil rights movement. NBC's Vice President of News and Public Affairs, J. Davidson Taylor, was a Southerner who understood the importance of the story, and he and producer Reuven Frank were determined that NBC would lead television's coverage of it.[7] In 1955, NBC provided national coverage of the young Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s leadership of the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, airing reports from Frank McGee, then news director of WSFA-TV, NBC's Montgomery affiliate, and soon to join the network.[8] A year later, John Chancellor's coverage of the admission of black students to Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas provided the first occasion when the signature reporter on a story came from television rather than print[8] and prompted a prominent U.S. senator to observe later, "When I think of Little Rock, I think of John Chancellor."[5] Other reporters who covered the movement for the network included Sander Vanocur, Herbert Kaplow, Charles Quinn, and Richard Valeriani.[7] Valeriani suffered a serious head injury when hit with an ax handle at a demonstration in Marion, Alabama in 1965.[9] Perhaps one of the greatest discoveries of the executive team, was Robert "Shad" Northshield as the program's producer. Northshield sat in his office surrounded by mounted birds in front of the enlarged poster his staff had made of George C. Scott as Patton. but he hated violence and saw network news as a way to force the country's collective habd into making better choices. Prior to Northshield, women wore baby seal coats as a sign of status, so Shad showed the country what clubbing those baby seals looked like. Within a season, that market came to an end. Northshield always thought the relatively unwatched CBS Morning news was the "best damn news show on the air". And so when Huntly/Brinkley ended he allowed Bill Paley to woo him over in order to create and produce the weekly eleagnce of that network's; "Sunday Morning" origianlly hosted by Charles Kurault,now hosted by Charles Osgood. The ending moment of nature was the program's weekly tribute to the rough-hewened man who created much of the best quality news division programming ever seen.. After being aired free of sponsorship for decades, it became first sponsored, then abruptly ended without notice

While CBS's Walter Cronkite's fascination with space eventually won the anchorman viewers, NBC, with the work of correspondents such as Frank McGee, Roy Neal, Jay Barbree, and Peter Hackes, also distinguished itself in the coverage of American manned space missions in the Project Mercury, Project Gemini, and Project Apollo programs. In an era when space missions rated continuous coverage, NBC configured its largest studio, Studio 8H, for space coverage. It utilized models and mockups of rockets and spacecraft, maps of the earth and moon to show orbital trackage, and stages on which animated figures created by puppeteer Bil Baird were used to depict movements of astronauts before on-board spacecraft television cameras were feasible. (Studio 8H had been home to the NBC Symphony Orchestra led by Arturo Toscanini and is now the home of the long-running NBC show, Saturday Night Live.) NBC's coverage of the first moon landing in 1969 earned the network an Emmy Award.[10]

In the late 1950s, NBC President Robert Kintner reorganized the chain of command at the network, making Bill McAndrew president of NBC News, reporting directly to Kintner.[5] McAndrew served in that position until his death in 1968.[5] McAndrew was succeeded by his executive vice president, producer Reuven Frank, who held the position until 1973.[5]

NBC Nightly News era

NBC's ratings lead began to slip toward the end of the 1960s and fell sharply when Chet Huntley retired in 1970 (Huntley died of cancer in 1974). The loss of Huntley, along with a reluctance by RCA to fund NBC News at a similar level CBS was funding its news division, left NBC News in the doldrums. The network tried a platoon of anchors (Brinkley, McGee, and John Chancellor) for some months afterward. Despite the efforts of the network's eventual lead anchor, the articulate, even-toned Chancellor, and an occasional first-place finish in the Nielsens, Nightly News in the 1970s was primarily a strong second.[3] By the end of the decade, NBC had to contend not only with a powerful CBS but also a surging ABC, led by Roone Arledge. Tom Brokaw became sole anchor in 1983, after co-anchoring with Roger Mudd for a year, and began leading NBC's efforts. In 1986 and 1987, NBC won the top spot in the Nielsens for the first time in years,[11] only to fall back when Nielsen's ratings methodology changed. In late 1996, Nightly News again moved into first place,[12] a spot it has held onto in most of the succeeding years.

NBC's primary news show is NBC Nightly News. Brian Williams assumed primary anchor duties in December, 2004 upon the retirement of his predecessor, Tom Brokaw. On October 22, 2007, NBC Nightly News moved into its new high definition studios, at Studio 3C at NBC Studios in 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. The network's 24 hour cable network, MSNBC, joined the network in New York on that day as well. The new studios/headquarters for NBC News and MSNBC are now located in one area.

Nine men have served as president of NBC News during this period: Reuven Frank (1968–1973, 1981–85), Richard Wald (1973–1977), Lester M. Crystal (1977–1979), William J. Small (1979–1981), Lawrence Grossman (1985–1988), Michael Gartner (1988–1993), Andrew Lack (1993–2001), Neal Shapiro (2001–2005), and Steve Capus (2005–present).

Current programming

NBC News Washington Bureau

Syndicated productions

Other productions

NBC News provides content for the Internet, as well as cable-only news networks CNBC and MSNBC.

Additionally, 'NBC News Radio' broadcasts radio news headlines at the top of the hour, which have been produced and distributed since 1989 by Westwood One, an independent radio network and syndicator. Listen to the latest headlines by clicking here (subject to availability).

In 1982, NBC News began production on NBC News Overnight with anchors Linda Ellerbee, Lloyd Dobyns, and Bill Schechner. That program was cancelled in December 1983, but in 1991, NBC News aired another overnight news show called NBC Nightside. During its run, the show's anchors included Sara James, Bruce Hall, Antonio Mora, Tom Miller, Campbell Brown, Kim Hindrew, Tom Donavan, and Tonya Strong. NBC Nightside lasted until 1998 and was replaced by reruns of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and currently is the home to Poker After Dark and a week-after repeat of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. In the early 1990s, NBC News produced a short-lived investigative program called Exposé.

NBC News Channel is a news video and report feed service, similar to a wire service, providing pre-produced international, national and regional stories some with fronting reporters customized for NBC network affiliates. It is based in Charlotte, North Carolina and is connected to the studios of Charlotte NBC affiliate WCNC-TV. NBC News Channel also served as the production base of NBC Nightside.

Noted coverage

On November 22, 1963, NBC broke into various programming through affiliate stations at 1:45 p.m. to announce that President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas. Six minutes later, NBC broke into programming with a NBC Network bumper slide and Chet Huntley, Bill Ryan, and Frank McGee informing the viewers what was going on as it happened, but since a camera wasn't in service the reports were audio only. However, NBC didn't begin broadcasting over the air until 1:57 p.m. EST. About 40 minutes later, after word came that JFK was pronounced dead, NBC canceled programming for four days and carried 71 hours of uninterrupted news coverage of the assassination and the funeral of the president.[13]

NBC News got the first American news interviews from two Russian presidents (Vladimir Putin, Mikhail Gorbachev), and Brokaw was the only American TV news correspondent to witness the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.[14]


Dateline NBC General Motors investigation

In 1993, Dateline NBC broadcast an investigative report about the safety of General Motors (GM) trucks. GM discovered the "actual footage" utilized in the broadcast had been rigged by the inclusion of explosive incendiaries attached to the gas tanks and the use of improper sealants for those tanks. GM subsequently filed an anti-defamation lawsuit against NBC, which publicly admitted the results of the tests were rigged and settled the lawsuit with GM on the very same day.[15] As a result of the controversy, several Dateline producers were fired and NBC News President Michael Gartner was forced out.

Mail from a mass murderer

On April 16, 2007, Cho Seung-hui stormed through a classroom building at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University at Blacksburg, Virginia and randomly shot and killed 32 people, injuring 29 others. Two hours earlier, he had slain two other people at a dormitory in another part of the campus.

Cho took time between the two shooting episodes to prepare and mail a large multimedia package to NBC News in New York containing messages about his anger at the wealthy and alluding to the slaughter that was about to take place. Although the package was sent overnight mail, it was not received until 11 a.m. on April 18 because of Cho's confusion over the zip code of NBC's headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

The package contained a DVD showing video clips of Cho speaking and more than two dozen photos of Cho, including 11 of him thrusting pistols at the camera. A postal worker delivering the parcel to the network's Rockefeller Center offices recognized the sender and alerted NBC security personnel. They immediately reported the package to the FBI. Meanwhile, NBC made copies of the contents and aired carefully edited pieces on its evening news and cable programs. Snippets from the package, including still photos, videos and voice narration, were also made available to competing news outlets who agreed to credit the network as the source. NBC News president Steve Capus defended use of the material but the frequency of its broadcast was cut dramatically.

Current situation

During the financial crisis of 2007-2008, NBC News was urged to save $500 million by NBC Universal. On that occasion, NBC News laid off several of its in-house reporters such as Kevin Corke, Jeannie Ohm and Don Teague. This was the largest lay-off in NBC News history. After the sudden death of the influential moderator Tim Russert of Meet the Press in June 2008, Tom Brokaw took over as an interim host; and on December 14, 2008 David Gregory has become the new moderator of that show.

By 2009, NBC had established leadership in network news, airing the highest-rated morning, evening, and Sunday interview news programs.[16] Its ability to share costs with MSNBC and share in the cable network's advertising and subscriber revenue made it far more profitable than its network rivals.[17]





International broadcasts

MSNBC is not shown outside the Americas on a channel in its own right. However, both NBC News and MSNBC are shown for a few hours a day on Orbit News in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Orbit News is network of three 24 hour satellite and cable channels offering exclusively American news programming from ABC, NBC, PBS, and MSNBC to U.S. expats and other viewers abroad, primarily geared towards an audience in the Arab countries. The network is available on digital satellite and cable in Europe, Middle East and North Africa, however, cable operators in Europe are currently unable to carry the channels due to unsolved rights issues.

MSNBC is also shown occasionally on sister network CNBC Europe during breaking news. Some NBC News programs are shown in the Philippines on 2nd Avenue.

NBC Nightly News, along with the full program lineup of NBC, is carried by affiliate VSB-TV in Bermuda.

In Australia; the first 2 hours of Today, Weekend Today and Meet The Press are broadcast early in the morning on the Seven Network, just before their own morning show Sunrise.

In Japan, it is broadcasted live on NBC Nightly News network live on Fuji Television daily at 06:00–06:30 am.

In Singapore, it is broadcasted live on NBC Nightly News network live on MediaCorp TV Channel 5 and MediaCorp TV HD5 daily at 06:00–06:30 am.

In Hong Kong, it is broadcasted live on NBC Nightly News network live on TVB Pearl daily at 06:30–07:00 am.

In Indonesia, it is broadcasted live on NBC Nightly News network live on RCTI (relayed on RCTI; recorded on SCTV and Indosiar (simulcast on RCTI)) which network by SCTV and Indosiar (relayed on RCTI; recorded on RCTI (simulcast on SCTV and Indosiar)); carrying simulcast relayed and recorded network on RCTI daily at 05:30–06:00 am local time, former daily broadcasting times form weekday every Monday to Friday at 12:00-12:30 pm local time was relayed on RCTI (relayed on RCTI; recorded on SCTV (simulcast on RCTI)) which network by SCTV (relayed on RCTI; recorded on RCTI (simulcast on SCTV)); carrying simulcast relayed and recorded network on RCTI from 7 November 1988 was test of transmission, later on 24 August 1989 was officialy public innaugurated until 17 January 1993.


Major bureaus

Minor bureaus (within the United States)

Foreign bureaus (NBC News/CNBC/MSNBC)

Theme music

Most of NBC's news television programs use "The Mission" by John Williams as their theme. The composition was first used by NBC in 1985 and was updated in 2004.[18]


  1. ^ Thomas, Lowell (1977). So Long Until Tomorrow. New York: Wm. Morrow and Co. pp. 17–19. ISBN 0-688-03236-2. 
  2. ^ "New York City Hooper Ratings for Election Night 1948" TVObscurities.com.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Matusow, Barbara (1983). The Evening Stars: The Making of the Network News Anchor. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 
  4. ^ a b Whitworth, William (1968-08-03). "An Accident of Casting". The New Yorker. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Frank, Reuven (1991). Out of Thin Air: The Brief Wonderful Life of Network News. New York: Simon & Schuster. 
  6. ^ Manchester, William (1967). The Death of a President. New York: Harper & Row. p. 190. 
  7. ^ a b Roberts, Gene; Klibanoff, Hank (2006). The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 155. 
  8. ^ a b Halberstam, David (1993). The Fifties. New York: Villard Books. 
  9. ^ Raines, Howell (1971). My Soul Is Rested: Movement Days in the Deep South Remembered. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. pp. 371–72. 
  10. ^ Barbree, Jay (July 20, 2004). "The Moments before the Eagle Landed". MSNBC.com. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5462500/. 
  11. ^ Gerard, Jeremy (1989-11-29). "ABC Surpasses CBS in Evening News Ratings". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1989/11/29/arts/abc-surpasses-cbs-in-evening-news-ratings.html?pagewanted=print. 
  12. ^ "CBS tops Nielsens 2nd week in row". SFGate.com (San Francisco Examiner). 1997-03-12. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/e/a/1997/03/12/STYLE6031.dtl&type=printable. 
  13. ^ NBC News (1966). There Was a President. New York: Random House. 
  14. ^ Shales, Tom (1989-11-10). "The Day the Wall Cracked; Brokaw's Live Broadcast Tops Networks' Berlin Coverage". Washington Post. 
  15. ^ Richard L. Abel. Speaking Respect, Respecting Speech. p. 191. http://books.google.ca/books?id=kf0zqDyLgBkC&pg=PA191. 
  16. ^ Carter, Bill; Stelter, Brian (2009-03-08). "A Matrix of News Winners Buoys NBC". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/09/business/media/09nbc.html. 
  17. ^ Stelter, Brian; Carter, Bill (2010-02-28). "Network News at a Crossroads". New York Times: p. B1. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/01/business/media/01network.html. 
  18. ^ SoundtrackNet: News: Legendary Composer John Williams Composes New "NBC Sunday Night Football" Theme

External links

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