TV Article

Signing Off

Tom Brokaw will step down on Dec. 1. After more than two decades, NBC's top newsman will hand over the reins to Brian Williams after the election

On Dec. 2, Americans will get their first new nightly news anchor in more than 20 years. That'll be Brian Williams' first day on the job at ''NBC Nightly News,'' the top-rated among the three network evening newscasts. Variety reports that Tom Brokaw, the show's anchor since 1983, has told NBC brass that he will deliver his final newscast on Dec. 1.

Brokaw, 64, said two years ago that he'd retire after the 2004 elections but had not specified exactly when. NBC had been grooming successor Williams, 45, for a decade, giving him anchor gigs on sister channels CNBC and MSNBC. Brokaw's rivals -- Peter Jennings at ABC and Dan Rather at CBS, who've also been in their anchor chairs for more than two decades -- may enjoy a temporary ratings bounce after Brokaw leaves, but both of them are also expected to retire in the next couple of years.

Brokaw has also said that, even after he leaves his post, he'll still be sticking around NBC News to make specials. As he said two years ago, his retirement from the anchor chair ''doesn't mean I'm going to sit in the Anchorman's Rest Home and take soft food.''

Originally posted Apr 19, 2004