Tom Brokaw reaches the last night anchoring `NBC Nightly News'

Wednesday, December 1st 2004, 11:01 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Tom Brokaw ends almost 23 years at the anchor desk Wednesday, as he signs off ``NBC Nightly News'' for the last time.

The exit plan was announced in May 2002. The 64-year-old Brokaw, is stepping away from daily journalism to pursue other interests, including more time on his Montana ranch. But he will host at least three documentaries a year.

Brian Williams takes over ``Nightly News'' with Thursday's broadcast. He begins at the top of the ratings, where ``Nightly News'' has reigned since 1997.

The much-awaited shift at NBC was briefly upstaged last week by the surprise announcement that Dan Rather would be departing ``The CBS Evening News'' anchor chair in March, after 24 years.

Those changes, after two decades of stability, will leave only ABC's Peter Jennings among the old-timers.

Brokaw joined NBC in 1966. He was White House correspondent from 1973-76. He anchored ``Today'' from 1976-81. He began his ``Nightly News'' run in April 1982, sharing the anchor title with Roger Mudd, who reported from Washington. NBC hoped the two anchors would revive the glory years of the Huntley-Brinkley team.

It didn't, either with ratings or chemistry between Mudd and Brokaw. In September 1983, Brokaw became the solo anchor.