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Tuesday November 13th 2018



Nightly News anchor takes his skills to primetime

By Shelby Powell —
Since taking over the NBC Nightly News anchor desk in 2004, Brian Williams has amassed a following that goes beyond his daily 5:30 pm viewing audience. Between his regular appearances on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and occasionally playing a cartoonish version of himself on 30 Rock, Williams has made himself into something more than the average broadcast journalist.

With Rock Center, a weekly news magazine in the vein of 60 Minutes or Dateline, NBC is seeking to capitalize on that image.

In the first two installments, the stories have been wide ranging. Roving reporter Richard Engel filmed himself sneaking into Syria with smugglers. There was a fluff segment about the difficulties of boarding an airplane. Harry Smith presented an interesting piece about a North Dakota town where there are more available jobs than there are people to fill them. One interesting piece followed one woman’s story about forced sterilization.

Aside from the news stories, Williams also invites a guest to Rock Center each week. The inaugural episode featured an interview with Jon Stewart. Stewart and Williams are old friends and an interview in this relaxed atmosphere felt more like taking part in a casual conversation.

Tina Fey took part in the second episode. The interview, spanning reality TV and the economic crisis in Greece, was an interesting window into the way the rest of the series will go.

Williams seems exhilarated to do his job without the confines of the anchor desk. He is loose and pleasant, taking great joy in the dissection of various news stories with other high caliber reporters. Though the tone feels scattered, like Williams himself isn’t sure about the direction he wants to go in, the first two episodes have shown great promise.

With a little time, Williams and his cast of reporters will find just the right drumbeat to march to that will make Rock Center what it was meant to be.