NBC News Unwraps New World HQ

By Chris Ariens 

NBC News & MSNBC: “The two belong together,” said Brian Williams last night at the opening of the new world headquarters of NBC News. Williams should know, he was with MSNBC at the beginning and now anchors the flagship broadcast on NBC. After 11 years in New Jersey, in a matter of days, MSNBC will make the move into a combined facility on the 3rd, 4th and 5th floors of the GE Building at 30 Rockefeller Center.

The third floor studio space, which NBC News president Steve Capus said looks like “the dance floor of the Stockholm Hilton” is versatile, brightly-lit and ultra-modern. On one end is the MSNBC studio, on the other, the studio where Brian Williams will anchor the Nightly News; and in between, the news-gathering hub: the desk. Domestic and international editors will sit near MSNBC planners, guest bookers, msnbc.com producers, and satellite coordinators.

NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker, who got his start at NBC News, told the crowd the network’s news division and MSNBC are “important symbols of NBC Universal” whose employees “make us proud everyday.”

(Photo: The MSNBC anchor desk with movable video wall)

Mayor Mike Bloomberg was on hand bestowing a proclamation that declared Oct. 11, NBC News Day in New York. The mayor welcomed MSNBC to the city, but didn’t gloat over the Garden State’s loss. Said the mayor, “There are a lot of electoral votes in New Jersey.” In a room full of journalists, that can be dangerous. “Just kidding, just kidding,” the mayor added.

Capus told the crowd a conference room had been named in honor of Mark Harrington, MSNBC’s first GM. MSNBC’s Secaucus, NJ facility was named in Harrington’s honor shortly after he died of cancer in 1998. How “fitting to have journalists gather in a place named for a man who gave his heart and soul to MSNBC,” said Capus.

MSNBC begins broadcasting from the facility Oct. 22 with Morning Joe at 6amET. That night, from less than 100 feet away, Brian Williams will anchor the first Nightly News broadcast from his new studio. “We will never close,” said Williams.

Brian Williams and NBC correspondent Kevin Tibbles

The studio for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, looking toward the assignment desk & MSNBC studio

NBC’s Ann Curry, MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer, Alex Witt, Tamron Hall and the Today show’s Jenna Wolfe

NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker (speaking), Matt Lauer and Joe Scarborough among the crowd

Brian Williams and Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter

The combined NBC Nightly News and MSNBC dayside newsroom

Artist’s rendering of NBC News’ new West Coast operations announced Thursday and expected to be complete by 2011.

(Photos: Courtesy of Chris Ariens)