NBC’s Gustav Plans: Brian Williams to the Gulf, Tom Brokaw at the RNC

By Chris Ariens 

This time, no one is taking any chances.

With the potential of being as severe or even worse than Hurricane Katrina three years ago, Hurricane Gustav is challenging network executives like no story in recent memory. Just like RNC planners, themselves facing a scaled back gathering, news executives, too, have been huddled all weekend coming up with their coverage plans.

NBC’s Brian Williams covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

NBC News will place Nightly News anchor Brian Williams along the Gulf coast while his predecessor on Nightly News, Tom Brokaw handles anchor duties from St. Paul. “There’s nobody who can put the kind of talent on both stories like NBC News,” division head Steve Capus told TVNewser today. “There’s no such thing as a “B” team when your anchor is Tom Brokaw,” Capus says. For his part, Williams will combine both stories tonight. He’s scored an interview with Sen. McCain that will air on tonight’s Nightly News.

NBC & MSNBC will also have the benefit of on and off camera meteorologists from the Weather Channel. “We feel great that with our pending acquisition of the Weather Channel, we’ve got at least five correspondents from the Weather Channel. That just rounds out a strong reporting team,” Capus says.

Complicating matters for NBC back in St. Paul, the network is the broadcast pool, providing video coverage for all networks. “From a technical load we have a tremendous burden,” Capus says. “We’re not pulling anything on the tech side out of St. Paul.” And as for any criticism that might be leveled at the network from those who might claim unequal DNC & RNC coveraage, Capus says, “The McCain campaign and the RNC have been incredibly sensitive to what’s happening in the Gulf, and we’ve tried to do the same.” Capus doesn’t rule out Williams traveling to St. Paul to report on the final day of the RNC, again, all depending on the storm.

Another NBC News reporter not going to St. Paul: Luke Russert. NBC says he’ll be going to Memphis to cover the evacuation of Gulf coast residents.

Click continued to read NBC’s press release. We’ll highlight other networks’ coverage plans in later posts…


Brian Williams to Head Up Coverage From the Gulf Region and Tom Brokaw to Lead Coverage Live from St Paul

Williams to Interview Presidential Candidate Senator John McCain on This Evening’s “Nightly News”

New York, N.Y. – The networks of NBC News will have comprehensive coverage of the Republican National Convention live from St. Paul, and from the Gulf Region as the area braces for Hurricane Gustav.

“Nightly News” Anchor and Managing Editor, Brian Williams will report live from the region beginning this evening with an exclusive interview with Presidential hopeful Senator John McCain. NBC News’ Ann Curry, Lester Holt, Al Roker and a team of correspondents including Contessa Brewer, Don Teague, Janet Shamlian, Kerry Sanders, Lee Cowan, Mark Potter, Mary Murray, Michelle Kosinski, and others, will also be on location. Coverage will extend across MSNBC, and the networks of NBC News will benefit from Weather Plus and a preliminary agreement with The Weather Channel by utilizing their expert teams on and off air.

NBC News’ Tom Brokaw will head up the network’s coverage of the RNC live from St. Paul. He will be joined by the network’s political team of Andrea Mitchell, Chuck Todd, David Gregory, John Yang, Luke Russert, Kelly O’Donnell, Mike Taibbi, Savannah Guthrie, Tom Costello, among others.

MSNBC will have continuing live coverage of Hurricane Gustav beginning today, with Dan Abrams anchoring in primetime from New York, with reports from NBC News and MSNBC correspondents on location across the Gulf Coast. MSNBC will continue live coverage throughout the day Monday, with Keith Olbermann anchoring the network’s coverage of Hurricane Gustav in primetime live from New York.

Chris Matthews will lead MSNBC’s coverage of the Republican National Convention from St. Paul, with Norah O’Donnell leading a panel of MSNBC political analysts Rachel Maddow, Pat Buchanan and Eugene Robinson.