"Rock Center" ended its run on Friday night, as Brian Williams closed out the newsmagazine that, despite its ambitions, could never find its footing in the ratings--or in the NBC schedule.
The show was canceled in May. Williams finished what he said was the 76th episode with a look back on, as he put it, "what we believe what was a very good run." He ran through some of the highlights of the show's nearly two-year tenure.
Most of them served to underscore what will be missing from NBC News' lineup when "Rock Center" is gone--namely, long-form, serious journalism. The network's sole other newsmagazine, "Dateline," is heavily weighted towards tabloid fare, and none of its other programs feature the kinds of stories "Rock Center" did.
"Rock Center" was always a troubled show, and Williams is reported to have been displeased at the way it had been handled by NBC. On Friday, the New York Times quoted a staffer who said Williams had felt "insulted" by the show's cancellation. Earlier, he had been said to have been angered over the constant shuffling of "Rock Center" in the network's lineup, robbing viewers of a consistent place to find it.
Williams' final words on the show were ones of thanks to its staffers, some of whom will now be out of a job.
"My sincere thanks to you for watching and my sincere thanks to the people here who did the work, some of them through gunfire, all of them through long nights, missed flights and time away from lives and loved ones," he said.