Overview

NBC Nightly News airs daily with a roundup of the biggest headlines across the US. It’s a great way to stay informed, with a quick look at the stories dominating the news cycle.

The broadcast is presented by Lester Holt on weeknights, with different presenters filling in at the weekend.

At the time of writing, the show claims the 2nd spot in the ranking of the most watched network news shows in the US.

Premise

Each episode of NBC Nightly News gives a quick run through of major news stories affecting the US. For example, in 2020, coverage frequently touches on the COVID-19 pandemic and the presidential election.

Lester Holt presents the broadcast, with correspondents often on-location reporting the news via video link to the studio. On Saturdays, José Díaz-Balart takes over for Holt, and on Sundays Kate Snow anchors.

Sometimes, the broadcast is updated for the Pacific Time Zone if the news has changed since the program was aired in the Eastern Time Zone.

Cast and characters

There are many correspondents who feature on NBC Nightly News. The production includes:

  • Lester Holt
  • José Díaz-Balart
  • Kate Snow
  • Bill Wolff
  • Miguel Almaguer
  • Tom Costello
  • Gabe Gutierrez
  • Kristen Welker
  • Hallie Jackson
  • Andrea Mitchell
  • Peter Alexander
  • Stephanie Gosk
  • Pete Williams
  • Richard Engel
  • Joe Fryer
  • Kristen Dahlgren
  • Kerry Sanders
  • Joe Ling Kent
  • Anne Thompson
  • Gadi Shwartz
  • Kevin Tibbles
  • Al Roker

Filming locations

NBC Nightly News is filmed at Studio 3C at NBC Studios, 30 Rockefeller Center, New York City, NY.

Some Los Angeles versions of the show are produced at The Brokaw News Center, Universal City, California – and Washington D.C. broadcasts come from the NBC News bureau at WRC-TV in Tenleytown, or an NBC studio near Capitol Hill.

Correspondents are often on-location to give their reports, though not always.

Production

NBC Nightly News took over from The Hunter-Brinkley report in 1970. Initially, David Brinkley, John Chancellor and Frank McGee co-anchored the broadcast, until eventually Chancellor became the only anchor. Brinkley briefly returned for 3 years, before Chancellor again anchored solo in 1979.

Tom Brokaw then anchored the show from 1982 – 2004, with Brian Williams taking over in 2004. After a scandal involving Williams allegedly embellishing and fabricating stories of his experiences in Iraq and in post-Katrina New Orleans, Lester Holt eventually replaced Williams in 2015.

The broadcast’s theme tune, ‘The Mission’, was composed by John Williams – perhaps best known for his work on blockbuster franchises like Star Wars, Jurassic Park and Harry Potter.

He’s not the only famous name involved with NBC Nightly News’s production, however. Actor Michael Douglas recorded an opening for the broadcast which was in use from 2007 – 2015. Bill Wolff now introduces the show.

Episodes and reception

NBC Nightly News has been running for almost 50 years – as such, there are several hundred episodes of the broadcast.

Throughout the broadcast’s history, there have been some dramatic incidents on air and off.

In 2001, a letter containing anthrax was sent to Tom Brokaw. Brokaw was unharmed, however two NBC News employees were infected.

Then, in 2007, the Virginia Tech shooter sent a package to NBC News, which included a manifesto and photographs of the shooter. Brian Williams and Pete Williams went through edited copies of some of the package’s content on air.

In 2011, the studio’s fire alarm sounded during the Eastern Time Zone broadcast. Brian Williams continued to anchor, and filmed the program again for other time zones and stations when the alarm had been shut off.

The program is also broadcast internationally in Europe and Hong Kong, and is available around the world in podcast form.

NBC Nightly News has regularly been honored across the TV award circuit – the production has 12 Emmy nominations, of which it has won 3.

The broadcast is very popular with viewers, and is the second most watched news show in the US.

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