By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor
This week has been a juggling act. Even if you don't count all the preparations required to host Saturday Night Live this weekend – and there have been plenty – it would have been a busy week. There was Tuesday's debate in Philadelphia, and – as always – there are the daily demands of my number one priority, which is Nightly News. It's a busy news day, so I'll keep it brief on the blog today.
There's been a lot of attention paid to the fact that I'm hosting Saturday Night Live – below are links to various press accounts on the subject. Just about everybody has been supportive and enthusiastic. I'll be honest, I thought long and hard before accepting the invitation to host, and agreed to do so only after concluding that it would do no harm to the reputation and integrity of NBC News. As I've said before, I look forward to having a little fun on my night off, though I freely acknowledge that this is new ground for me.
With all this in mind, a friend reminded me that this comedic road was first paved by two legendary predecessors of mine: Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. Back in 1964, when their nightly newscast was at the very peak of its popularity, Chet and David dipped their collective toe into the world of entertainment and emerged unscathed. Comedian Jack Benny was returning to NBC after years with CBS, and he invited Huntley and Brinkley to tape a mock news report he could use as a gag for the open of his premiere episode. They did, and then life went on. This brief item about it appeared in the New York Times shortly before the show:
Brinkley, Huntley and Benny
The National Broadcasting Company, which recently expressed concern that journalistic joshing about David Brinkley's dry humor might detract from his image as a serious news reporter, has granted permission for him and Chet Huntley to appear in connection with Jack Benny's premiere on Sept. 25 at 9:30pm.
The introduction of the television comedy program will be a routine in which Mr. Huntley and Mr. Brinkley will discuss reaction to the return of Mr. Benny to N.B.C.
-- The New York Times, September 15, 1964
We look forward to having you join us tonight, and I sure hope you'll be watching Saturday Night Live tomorrow night.