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Brian Williams Bio


A photo of NBC News anchor Brian Williams

Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News is the most-watching TV news anchor in the U.S.

Photo © Getty Images

Current Media Position:

Brian Williams is the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News. He also hosts Rock Center with Brian Williams, a weekly newsmagazine.

Significance to the Media Industry:

NBC Nightly News is consistently the number-one network news broadcast in the Nielsen ratings.

Despite that success, Brian Williams now has the mammoth task of getting some ratings traction for Rock Center, NBC's first prime time newsmagazine launch in nearly two decades. While it has been shifted into new time slots as NBC struggles, the program is definitely cheaper to create than a scripted drama or comedy show. In that sense, Brian Williams is helping the network financially.

Unlike most national news anchors, Brian Williams also presents a lighter side of himself to the public. He has hosted Saturday Night Live, appeared on the comedy 30 Rock and been a guest on several shows, including The Daily Show. He is unafraid to joke or do news spoofs, provided they are in the correct context.

Brian Williams' Early Career:

Brian Williams started his media career in 1981 at KOAM, a television station in the Joplin, Missouri-Pittsburg, Kansas DMA. When a tornado killed hundreds of people in that same area in 2011, Williams returned to provide network news coverage of the community where he'd lived 30 years earlier.

Just a year after starting in media, Williams got his big break when he was hired as a reporter in Washington, D.C. He also worked in Philadelphia and for the CBS O&O station in New York City before being hired by NBC in 1993.

Career Highlights:

Brian Williams rose through the ranks at NBC News quickly. He got regular face time on the evening news broadcast after he was named chief White House correspondent. Then came a nightly anchor position on The News with Brian Williams, which aired on MSNBC.

The MSNBC newscast positioned Williams perfectly to make a seamless transition into the Nightly News anchor chair when Tom Brokaw retired in 2004. Unlike the other networks, which have had difficulty making anchor changes smoothly, NBC's choreographed shift from Brokaw to Williams didn't disrupt the ratings.

Williams has been praised for his thorough and compassionate reporting in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which brought catastrophe to New Orleans in 2005. That coverage earned Williams a Peabody Award. He also has several Edward R. Murrow Awards as well as Emmy Awards.

Personal Information:

Brian Williams was born on May 5, 1959, in New Jersey. His childhood was spent growing up in New York and New Jersey.

Williams attended Brookdale Community College, Catholic University and George Washington University. He also spent several years as a firefighter.

He lives in Connecticut with his wife Jane Stoddard Williams, a former television producer who now hosts a program on Bloomberg radio. They have a son and a daughter. Their daughter Allison Williams appears on the HBO program Girls.

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