The Daily Nightly from NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams

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The Daily Nightly began on May 31, 2005. As Brian wrote in his first post it aims to provide a narrative of the broadcast day and a window into the editorial process at NBC Nightly News. Brian weighs in every weekday and NBC News correspondents and producers post regularly.

Brian Williams became the seventh anchor and managing editor in the history of NBC Nightly News on December 2, 2004. Read his full biography.

ABOUT TONIGHT...

"Sometimes I think the whole industry just packed up and joined the circus." --Jerry Seinfeld on television, at today's NBC sales gathering at Radio City Music Hall

We're doing something tonight that we started here a few months ago.  By approaching a single sponsor to in effect "underwrite" Nightly News, we are able to do a newscast with limited commercial interruption -- which means more news -- and we intend to fill that widened slot with a special package of reporting that attempts to look into the future.  We've asked a number of experts what the year 2017 might look like...what technology and medicine and education might be like in a decade.  I will close the broadcast with some great past predictions that we've discovered.

In "spot" news tonight -- no shortage there, either.  We have the ongoing situation in Iraq -- Americans missing, Americans killed -- the crippled vessel off the Alaskan coast, the Georgia fire(s), and word of the pending sale of Chrysler to a private equity firm.  As someone said over the weekend: those Americans who aren't sure what private equity firms DO...are about to find out.  Same goes for Chrysler's employees. 

ABOUT TOMORROW NIGHT...

Nightly News will originate from London on Tuesday night.  We are going there to conduct an interview with Tony Blair, a U.S. network exclusive.  After 10 years as Prime Minister, he's had a key and unique role in world history for a decade. We will meet at No. 10 Downing Street and will air the first and most prominent part of our conversation tomorrow night.  Further portions will air Wednesday morning on Today, Sunday evening on Dateline and in a full-length special broadcast on MSNBC.  As part of our agreement with the Prime Minister, we will also get a glimpse of his day and his life.  We'll be back in New York for Wednesday's broadcast.  We're excited about the trip because of the chance to hear from a figure in modern history...and because we really like jet lag.

ABOUT LAST NIGHT...

To fellow Sopranos fans: I don't know what's left to say, but I'm not going to give up that easily: how about "Comfortably Numb?" That version with Van Morrison from The Departed soundtrack is, as a friend of mine put it, "Like being in Church."  It's a transforming song -- perhaps among the top three Van Morrison recordings of all time. David Chase, always crafty, apparently selected music by song title this week and not by melody per se. Consider "Comfortably Numb," "Outta My Head" by M. Ward, and the Pretenders' "The Adultress."  After getting over the shock of knowing exactly where the dump site was, after getting over the shock of the opening sequence (and what a cruel and poetic and haunting and soaring use of the Roger Waters song) I joined others in sitting back and letting the peyote take effect. Loved, as usual, the small stuff: Carm's Apple, Dick Cavett, Kate Hepburn, and the twisted infant seat imagery. Proof that the writing captures the language of my upbringing: I don't think I've ever been to an open-casket wake where a family member has not said, regardless of the age or condition of the deceased, "they did such a good job on him/her..."  The episode left everyone a little sadder for watching.  The acting was perhaps the best in over a year. We're down to the final three -- those of us who love the show have long realized major changes must come and major characters must go -- and yet are we ever prepared? A trusted-associate-turned-troubled-associate is now gone.  He is not likely to be the last departure.  It left us all less than comfortably numb.  What a towering piece of work David Chase has created.

Okay, the respite from the work day is over.

Back to the news and the day job.  We're putting together the half-hour (which, thanks to tonight's LCI -- limited commercial interruption -- is a lot closer to a full half hour. We hope you can join us tonight from our studio in New York, and we'll look for you from London tomorrow night.

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COMMENTS

By now, it is painfully obvious to most people in the freedom movement that Republican presidential hopeful, Ron Paul, has been targeted for elimination—by his own Party. The politically-connected elite within the Republican Party, along with allied organizations and operatives, are working overtime to make sure that Ron Paul is burned at the stake for daring to speak the truth and defy the Good Ol’ Boy system.

Brian, Please. Surely most of "Moondance" and the more recent "Magic Time" alone, are better Van than his chorus role in an admittedly great version of 'Comfortably Numb'.

While I liked the idea of a single sponser, the program didn't work. There was no substance to it, just a couple of "predictions" from "experts." I agree with Jason Noah that "machine gun" news might also be something else to try.

It seems to me you only cover issues that people care about. While that may seem obviously correct, it is the wrong way to structure a news program, especially one that claims to be unbiased. You should attempt to cover more issues each night, even if it only gets a quick mention. Open people's minds to the fact that there is life outside of Washington, Europe, and the Middle East. NBC Nightly News must do a better job of covering international events as they come or more people will start to turn to alternative news sources, something that I and many others have already done.

So glad Slate offered this link to you. I was afraid you were done. I don't get my news from television but if I did, I would watch you.

Thanks for the informative links! I'm looking forward to Anne's future reports. Also, I respectly beg to differ with Norman Charles--plenty of the usual national and world news was covered last night.

Hey, why did you drop out of Slate's TV club discussion with those 2 great guys (jerry & noah?)? The back & forth between you guys was terrific.

Are you a "flat leaver"? Or did MSNBC make you an offer you couldn't refuse?

How about talking about the dangerous mercury in those cfl bulbs that al gore is promoting, how do you dispose of them, will they contaminate our landfills and ground water. What will that be like in 2017, when we start disposing of these bulbs. Today the gallup poll showed the approval of Congress at just 29%, how will that affect us in 2017.

Why is it that you failed to identify "Don't Run Wild" by the Del Fuegos as one of the songs Christopher turned off on hiw way to Van Morrisson's version of "Comfortably Numb" early in the episode? Is it just me or does this song title also seem to have some portent to the rest of the episode?

Brian, thanks for continuing the practice of presenting Nightly News with limited commercial interruption. I really enjoy the concept. I have two suggestions for upcoming extended broadcasts. First, what about doing one with as much international news as possible? The extended time would give you the chance to give context for the stories, and it would show whether Americans really are as disinterested in international news as I think we are. Second, what about a "machine gun" news night, where you try and get in as much daily news as possible? I think it would be so informative and challenging as well. Can you imagine how tired we'd all be at the end?!

Sean of Burbank, As an environmentalist, I run into the argument about overpopulation all the time. To me, I can't help but think that citing overpopulation as our main problem is often a way people use to push the blame of world problems off onto something that really isn’t going to change any time soon. It essentially frees them from taking responsibility for how desperate things are by essentially saying, “It’s not me!” Our problem isn’t so much the number of people as it is our society’s total and complete disregard for efficiency or functional products of any kind. Here we are with sprawling 15- to 20-acre parking lots where builders simply pave over the pristine farmland they want for parking. How stupid is that? Sure, less people would make things easier, but so would some solid planning and some wise choices. Trying to somehow stop population growth while continuing to ignore such excessive wastefulness will only prolong the inevitable. It's been said that you can place all the world's population in Mexico and the density would still be less than NYC.

Please, have hope in our abilities to pull this off and make life better for all. Apart from our personal efforts, there is a brewing caldron of astounding technology that not only can improve the standard of living of everyone, but dramatically lower our environmental impact.

Shopping centers with 90% less land use can be four to six stories tall with underground parking and rooftop recreational facilities to boot. Is that so much to ask?

Extremely deep geothermal energy is said to have the potential to provide 100,000 times the amount of clean energy the entire earth currently uses. Thus , from an energy perspective, there'd be no reason to think of population as the problem because no matter how many people we'd have, no one would be polluting or using up limited resources!

Brian - I have never watched the Sopranos, so don't know if viewers understand one of your comments that raised alarms in my head. I work in the field of substance abuse, and when I read you saying "sit back and let the peyote take effect" I can't help but wonder if it is in reference to someone on the show using the drug, or if you are referencing your own experience years ago. To see such casual mention causes me concern. Just wondering, not judging you understand, and certainly not trying to police the world. Just wondering why that reference was necessary.

Last night's newscast, especially the pieces about what life might be like in 2017, was first-rate. Thanks!

Something in Anne Thompson's story on the drought in Australia made me curious. At the end of the piece she mentioned how Australia is ironically surrounded by water. This reminded me that back in the 60's when I was in grade school social studies we learned about "desalinization"--removing the salt from seawater so it can be used for drinking, irrigation, and other things salt water cannot be used for. So I'm wondering why Australia and other countries facing water shortages, which have seacoasts, have not resorted to desalinization. Is it a matter of the cost's being prohibitive, or the environmental problem of getting rid of the salt removed from the water?

Editor's response: Australia has a huge desalinization initiative underway, and it will be part of Anne's continued reporting from Australia in the days ahead. Meanwhile, you can read more about desalinization in Australia here: http://search.smh.com.au/siteSearch.ac?q=desalinization&ss=smh&x=11&y=9

Very shocking what is happening in Australia. I call for rainwater holding cisterns under the driveway and even backup wells drilled regardless of whether or not city water exists. Rooftop hydroponic greenhouses not only save land and get the garden up and out of the shadow of the trees, they also need less water and few, if any, pesticides. I not only take navy showers (turning the water off after wetting down) but I even have a gallon jug that I capture the initial cold shower water with and I pour that into the toilet tank as it is filling itself back up after a flush. Speaking of toilets, as they say, "If it's yellow, just mellow..."

Your Monday Nightly News feature on the year 2017 made me wonder what the evening news will be like in ten years (if it even exists then). In 2007, you forego reporting on important national and international news to bring us your fanciful predictions on what life will be like in 2017. So I assume that in 2017, the Nightly News will still be wasting our time by presenting predictions on what life will be like in the year 2027. How about concentrating more on what's going on in the present? Or maybe Brian Williams should don a Carnac-type hat and resurrect the classic Johnny Carson bit where he offers answers before even hearing the questions. At least that would be an entertaining way to predict the future.

All is well and dandy as far as listening to the news BUT when it comes to hear about the truth then NOBODY dares to say anything,Journalists(french word for Newspaper writer) should have the guts to say what others like the Pope or people in power DO NOT DARE to utter WHY?We all know about global warming and we blame it on industries and their consequences,BUT the more people there will be on earth the more industries will produce and even IF they reduce the bad emissions the total amount will be the same as before BECAUSE they will produce more to satisfy HUMAN BEINGS "needs".
A lot of people were killed for saying the truth one or too have HUGE followers till now so here it goes the solution to our problems and to conserve the earth for our childrens is "REDUCING THE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE LIVING ON EARTH" we should quit having kids if we cannot take care of them a PROPER WAY

Excellent scoop with Blair. Way to go people. Please keep it coming.

Brian,
Any chance you could talk Mr. Blair into moving here and "advising" the government? Except for Iraq, myself and many others I know have always wished he could have been our President. I bet without Bush he never would have taken the stance on Iraq that he did. Regardless, Mr. Blair would be most welcome.

If not that, perhaps he could be secretary general of the UN and kick the butt out of that organization?

Safe trip

Brian, last year I was excited about your trip to Africa with Bono. Now I'm excited about your trip to London to see Tony Blair. As much as I disagree with him on Iraq he is a politician I absolutely admire...what he did with New Labour was quite an accomplishment, something the Democrats over here need to study and learn.

As for the looking into the future bit, it kind of freaked me out because in 10 years I'll be 30, and hopefully elected to congress by that point. A bit ambitious, sure, but Tony Blair was elected when he was 30 I do believe. I'm really looking forward to the interview, I'll be sad to see him leave office, but I know he'll use his spare time well.

Good Evening Again Mr. Williams, Looking into the future to 2017 seems incredible. The reports on how people will be indentified through the eyes and fingerprints would be a great step for security purposes. Also the advances in medicine would be a blessing to many people with these diseases. Too bad it didn't come earlier. But Mr. Williams I must admit that when you showed the Time Magazine article about what was predicted human beings would be able to do such as travel by hovercraft or rocket. The month and year of the magazine mentioned was the month and year I was born. I'm still waiting patiently for this to come. Anyway, we must concentrate on the present and finding those American soldiers alive,safe and well would be the first good step toward the future. Peace to all!

i have never seen a single episode of the sopranos

Hi Brian,
I have to agree with a couple of things you shared today. We are huge Soprano fans also and last night's episode certainly lived up to the show's reputation. I also wanted to comment on your observation about comments made at the funeral home. We live in the midwest and frankly I to can't remember attending a visitation where those "they look so natural" or "they look like they are sleeping" words were not uttered. In fact, at my mother's funeral we heard those words so often,
had it not been rude and probably disrepectful, I may have explained, "no, she looks dead." I loved my mother too much to say it, but she did not look natural. We also heard those infamous words, "we know just how you feel". No, they didn't unless they had experienced the same loss. That was thirty years ago, but at that very moment I decided that I would never express those thoughts to the loved ones of the deceased. We humans sometimes say the strangest things when we are at a loss for words. Glad to hear there are limited commercials tonight. We usually mute them anyway. We are so tired of commercials for prescription drugs that we are considering making up a notebook just to show how out of hand it has become. Thanks for the hard work and professionalism you bring to your newscast. We look forward to you interview with Mr. Blair. Have a safe trip.

Brian - First dinner with the Queen, now a visit with Tony - next thing you will be spelling with 're' instead of 'er'. Have a safe trip, we need all the Yankee fans we can muster for the upcoming weekend.

How we miss Concorde!

Good Evening Mr.Williams, Even though I am not a Sopranos watcher I am very happy that you enjoyed the episode so much last night. As for the person who doesn't want to discuss the episode in the office, I say too bad just don't pay any attention to the conversation or why don't you just watch the show when everybody else does. I am looking forward to the interview with Prime Minister Tony Blair. He was always a good friend to the President. I will miss seeing him speak. And finally I do hope that the missing soldiers are found safe and well. Looking forward to the broadcast. Peace to all!

Mr. Williams,

Be very hopeful that in your recent move that the travel agent on staff of NBC has not resorted to using Google Maps for your travel. ( Google Map directions from NYC to London) If they have you are going to have to endure more than jet lag LOL

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