By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor
I want to thank my friends Ann Curry, Amy Robach and Lester Holt for filling in for me these past two weeks. Most importantly, my family thanks them...and you...for letting me take some time off to be together. In 26 years on the job, I've never, ever taken two weeks off at once--but given the year we just witnessed in 2008, and given the holiday season, I thought it was time. As of today, time's up...and here we are again. My typing is a little slow, my senses are dulled a bit...an after-effect of my time away...but its great to be back with my friends.
And what a load of news we have to cover tonight. Thanks for being with us, and we hope you can join us tonight for Nightly News. Happy New Year to all of you...and one more thing: While I was away, NBC issued a press release containing the news that we ended the year as the top-rated evening newscast in the nation. We have you to thank for that, and we'll work as hard as we know how in 2009 to remain your choice each day, and to remain your trusted news source. Thanks for watching...tonight and every night.