03/28/2008 02:45 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Everything's Coming Up BriWi? Theater Veteran To Be New Voice Of "NBC Nightly News"

On Friday evening, "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams announced that the voice of longtime announcer Howard Reig had been heard for the last time at the top of the broadcast, saying in his familiar voice: "From NBC News world headquarters in New York, this is NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams." Williams announced that, starting tonight, there would be a new — and familiar — voice, which NBC further revealed had had "a rich, extensive, award-winning theatrical career for nearly forty years." Suggestions floated on TVNewser include Patrick Stewart and James Earl Jones — which would be an AWESOME ratings move because, between Star Trek and Star Wars, they'd totally dominate the geek demo (even though Charlie Gibson sort of looks like a Klingon in this photo. Come on! You don't think so?). Though query if NBC wants CNN's hand-me-down. Someone else suggested Tom Brokaw, which seems like an odd sort of career move for him, frankly, so we're not buying it. But here are our suggestions:
  • Don Pardo: The voice of SNL is conveniently on location and, alas, not that busy lately. Though I'm not sure about the theater cred.
  • Christopher Plummer: Hopefully he'd announce the news with that air of strapping, manly authority he commanded as Captain Von Trapp. Rawr. Plus, NBC News loves Canadians! Exhibit A: Kevin Tibbles. Oh, my God, FINALLY an appropriate time to use my "Trouble With Tibbles" joke. I'm not kidding, that geek demo is TOTALLY sewn up.
  • Nathan Lane: Well, you'd definitely know it was him.
  • Elaine Stritch: Oh, what, only a MAN can be the announcer for the evening news? Elaine Stritch will tell you where you can stuff your gravitas. Preferably after another vodka stinger.
  • Michael Buffer: Not ringing a bell? How about this: "Let's get ready to rrrrrumble!" Yep, that guy. Wrestling counts as theater, methinks. It's choreographed, after all. (Update: Michael Buffer didn't ring a bell with me, either...which is why I mistakenly attributed the phrase to Bob Arum. Mea culpa. I guess I really don't know about sports!)(One more update: Apparently it's boxing, too. Sometimes these blog-jokes are more trouble than they're worth.)
  • Ethel Merman: I know, she is, alas, dearly departed. But I needed a hook for "Everything's Comin' Up BriWi." Things are swell, things are great, got a whole bunch more viewers to rate...

Etc. Of those, we're thinking James Earl Jones sounds most likely. We'll know at 6:30 tonight — or, rather, we'll suspect at 6:30 and it will be confirmed at the end of the show. In the meantime, attention must be paid: Longtime announcer Reig, who was with NBC from 1952 until his official retirement in 2005, is, as "NBC Nightly News" director Brett Holey put it, "a familiar voice, an era for NBC and a small piece of broadcasting history." Aw. Reig really is an institution, though — in addition to being a 64-year veteran of the network and voicing NBC News for at least 25 of those, he's had a long and impressive history of work in broadcasting (see here) — including awesome vintage commercials, like this one for Zest ("Zest: Just another soap? Nope!"). By Holey's count, Reig, 86, has introduced "nearly 7,000 Nightly broadcasts — something he continued to do since his retirement, often going into the studio to tape the open when the show was on the road or another anchor was subbing in (the main version was a recording). Reig lives in Florida, where he moved after his retirement and where he will presumably remain, this time as someone who is actually retired.

Fond Farewell [Daily Nightly]

A familiar NBC voice to depart [MSNBC]