Brian Williams stays cool under fire (alarm) during 'Nightly News'
Brian Williams, dubbed "the Walter Cronkite of the 21st century" in a commentary on MarketWatch last year, demonstrated Tuesday night why he's earned the title when a fire alarm at the new studio in 30 Rockefeller Plaza sounded during the East Coast broadcast of the "NBC Nightly News."
Williams was just kicking off the broadcast with a story about American Airlines filing for bankruptcy when the alarm sounded, followed by an announcement over loudspeakers in the studio. Williams did not miss a beat in saying, "You'll forgive us, we have a fire alarm announcement going on here in the studio."
Williams soldiered on through the report, only cracking a smile when the fire alarm beeps turned into whooping sirens. As he threw to correspondent Tom Costello, Williams said, "We should advise our viewers there's no danger to us. We'd love to make this stop."
Costello, reporting from NBC's Washington bureau, seemed equally amused, giggling, "I'm glad you're OK. That's a first for me."
Williams seemed less amused later in the broadcast as the ever-evolving fire alarm turned into a steady, unbroken hum layered over his report.
NBC spokeswoman Erika Masonhall told the Associated Press the fire alarm was a drill, but technicians could not immediately turn off the speakers in the nightly newscast's new studio.
The alarm was fixed before Williams recorded the West Coast edition of the news.
-- Patrick Kevin Day
Photo: Brian Williams behind the desk at NBC News in quieter times. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times