Tom Brokaw, TV Icon and News Anchor, Officially Retires After 55 Years

by Chris Haney

On Friday, longtime NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw announced his formal retirement after 55 years with the network.

In a statement released earlier today, the 80-year-old brought an end to his long tenure at NBC. In addition, he praised the network’s new generation of journalists.

“During one of the most complex and consequential eras in American history, a new generation of NBC News journalists, producers and technicians is providing America with timely, insightful and critically important information, 24/7. I could not be more proud of them,” Brokaw said in the statement.

He was the anchor of NBC Nightly News for 22 years – from 1982 to 2004. Brokaw continued on for the next 16 years as part of the network’s special event coverage. He stayed on as a special correspondent who frequently provided commentary and analysis from a historical perspective.

NBC said that Brokaw will continue to write books and focus on his work in print journalism. His 2001 book The Greatest Generation highlighted Americans’ sacrifice throughout the Great Depression and World War II. Additionally, the network said Brokaw is retiring to spend more time with his wife, Meredith, his three daughters and the couple’s grandchildren.

Tom Brokaw and His Storied TV Career

Brokaw became a mainstay of American television in the 1980s. Dan Rather of CBS Evening News, Peter Jennings of World News Tonight, and Brokaw became staples of the news in the ’80s and ’90s.

His career began in 1966 as he anchored KNBC’s nightly newscast. In 1973, Brokaw moved to Washington D.C. to serve as the network’s White House correspondent. He famously covered the Watergate scandal and President Richard Nixon’s subsequent resignation. In 1976, he co-hosted Today with Jane Pauley, which lasted for the next six years.

The anchor transitioned to Nightly News, where he co-anchored the program with Roger Mudd in 1982. By the following year, Brokaw became the sole anchor and managing editor of Nightly News. The anchor became a star as he rose to the top of the ratings in the mid-’80s.

Among his most famous moments of the era, Brokaw became the first American journalist to interview Mikhail Gorbachev, the former president of the Soviet Union. The anchor also reported live from Berlin, Germany the night the Berlin Wall came down.

In 2014, Brokaw received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his significant contributions in his field. Furthermore, NBC named its Los Angeles broadcast facility on the Universal lot after the longtime anchor. Brokaw’s legacy will remain far past his retirement.