Brian Williams is no stranger to the hard-hitting news stories that characterize most of NBC’s new programs. However, for the past two years, Williams has adopted somewhat of a new role on his program, Rock Center. While the program still highlights the serious news stories of the day, Williams is also allowed to explore his inner comedic personality while bantering with special guests and covering fun news stories. While I only saw this new program for the first time last week, I can already say that Rock Center is one of the youngest, freshest, and most interesting news shows around. It came to the surprise of many viewers this week that NBC announced that Rock Center is to be cancelled by the end of June. If you have not had a chance to watch this program yet, be sure to tune in by the end of the month.
Brian Williams seamlessly transitioned from his role of serious news anchor into a younger and far more sarcastic comedic personality. The New York Times first described Rock Center as a “chance for Williams to loosen his tie” and enjoy giving a lighter-hearted take on the news of the day. Many do not realize that Williams is an outgoing, laid back kind of guy with a brilliant sense of humor. This is constantly apparent in Rock Center. For example, in last week’s episode Williams poked fun at the U.S. Congress’s smug and humorless sessions by comparing it with the rowdy Israeli Knesset. Rock Center can be compared in style to the ever-popular comedic news programs, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. This seems to have been an intentional move by the NBC Network in order to compete. Several articles highlight that younger viewers are getting their news from the Internet and from news sources other than the seriously depressing nightly news. Williams proved to bring the right balance of comedy and news to attract such viewers.
Williams highlights the news of the day, but also airs long segments of special interest stories. In one of his shows he highlighted a tribal dispute in Africa. This did not go over well with older viewers and network executives. However, for younger viewers, the story was engaging and educational. Rock Center represents the shift of younger viewers toward a less obsessive form of news. While 24-hour networks choose a story of the day to obsess over and exploit, shows like Rock Center touch on a wide variety of topics. It is an absolute shame that Rock Center will be cancelled after only two seasons. The program is genuinely entertaining and informative. Brian Williams bursts with energy each night on the program and presents stories that cannot be found anywhere else on the news. Constant time-slot changes and network disagreements may have ended the show, but Rock Center represents the larger trend in news programming. Check your local listings to catch the last few weeks of Rock Center to enjoy Williams and his humorous news.