Veteran TV newsman David Brinkley, whose six-decade career in broadcast journalism included anchor jobs at two of TV’s best-known long-running news programs, died Wednesday, ABC News reports. The 82-year-old succumbed to complications from a fall at his home in Houston, to which he had moved earlier this year after nearly perishing in a fire at his Wyoming home. Brinkley, along with his NBC coanchor Chet Huntley, was credited with developing the style and format of the modern nightly newscast. ”Every news program on the air looks essentially as we started it,” he once told Broadcast magazine.
Brinkley, who started as a radio newswriter at NBC in 1943, was known for his tart, skeptical delivery and spare sentences. In 1956, he and Huntley began anchoring ”The Huntley-Brinkley Report,” which not only became the dominant nightly newscast for the next 14 years, but spawned a national catchphrase with its anchors’ famous sign-off to each other, ”Good night, Chet… Good night, David.” In 1981, Brinkley moved to ABC, where he helped revitalize Sunday morning Washington pundit shows with ”This Week With David Brinkley,” which he anchored until his retirement in 1997.
Brinkley’s broadcasting earned him 10 Emmys, three Peabody Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He summarized his career in the title of one of his books: ”David Brinkley: 11 Presidents, 4 Wars, 22 Political Conventions, 1 Moon Landing, 3 Assassinations, 2,000 Weeks of News and Other Stuff on Television.”