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Brian Williams 'slow jams' healthcare reform news with Jimmy Fallon

March 30, 2010 | 10:32 am

NBC anchor Brian Williams on Monday night demonstrated again his increasing comfort revealing his comedic side, showing up on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” for a repeat appearance on the segment “Slow Jammin’ the News.”

After being greeted by giddy cheers from the audience, Williams proceeded to deliver, in a sonorous anchorman style, a story about last week’s passage of healthcare legislation. Behind him, the band whipped up a sexy R&B tune, while Fallon punctuated his report with breathy, suggestive vocals.

At one point, when Fallon referred to House Minority Leader John Boehner as “Congressman John Boner,” an exasperated Williams stopped the music and corrected his pronunciation. Fallon grinned wickedly. The innuendo further degenerated from there.

Williams, who has also made several cameos on “30 Rock,” told The Times in November that he has grown more willing to cut it up in public after five years behind the “NBC Nightly News” anchor desk. “In airline pilot terms, I feel like I have enough stripes on my sleeve to be able to do more of it," he said. "People are much savvier now. They get the difference. They know when you change hats."

It’s unclear whether the anchor’s extracurricular activities have affected his standing among news viewers. Williams not only remains firmly ensconced in first place in the ratings, but his broadcast is also the only network evening news program to have gained audience this season compared with last. Last week, he drew 8.36 million viewers, while ABC’s Diane Sawyer had 7.39 million and CBS’ Katie Couric 5.66 million. (The CBS rating is based on a three-day average because of preemptions caused by the NCAA basketball tournament.)

-- Matea Gold

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