Did you see him on SNL back in November? I did. I loved every single minute of it. It is the first SNL episode that I have saved on the TiVo and have watched repeatedly. It is just awesome that a major news anchor did something like this. You would never see Peter Jennings (although legend goes he was quite a funny man), Tom Brokaw, Ed Bradley, Edward R Murrow or any other newsman on a comedy show like this. They all seem to stiff and proper to do such a show. Also, it is just not what they do. Newsmen do not show their real personality. They are to just read the news and go on with it. However, maybe things are changing. As the Baby Boomers, Generation X'ers and Millenials get older, the news industry has to adjust to these populations. As a Millenial myself, personally, I like to see the personality of the people that are telling me the news. It is nice to get the impression that the person you see on TV in the suit and tie is a real person and not just some robot who is paid some large sum to read news from a TV screen. I want some personality. I think that all 3 of the major network anchors, Williams, Katie Couric, and Charles Gibson, have the personality and we all have seen it in action.
Couric and Gibson are products of network morning shows. Couric from NBC's Today Show and Gibson from ABC's Good Morning America. With these types of shows, you have to have a personality and also be really good at what you do. You have to be able to go from extremely serious by interviewing the President of the Free World and in the next minute, go to light hearted when you interview some kid who won a worm eating contest. There are also segments that involve cooking and sometimes during the holidays, you will have to participate in some kind of activity. On NBC's Today Show, the main personalities would participate in a costume contest each year on Halloween in which one year Katie Couric dressed up as Donald Trump.
While Williams does not have the experience with the morning format, his appearance on SNL was a good opportunity for him to show his personality. He even made fun of himself several times. My favorite skit is the Digital Short that he did which showed a "behind the scenes view of NBC Nightly News". It is hilarious! He also shows a little bit of himself in his newscasts when he reads letters from the public and issues a response.
Others are starting to like him more too. And it may be in connection with his appearance on SNL. According to the Quick and Entertainment Weekly, Williams' NBC Nightly News won the November ratings sweeps. His viewership was an average 9.3 million viewers, 438,000 more than Charles Gibson's World News Tonight on ABC. Was it his stint on SNL that helped him or are viewers geniunely turning the dial just because they prefer his style of reporting? We may never know, but I like to think that it is due to his stint on SNL.
P.S. Williams' hosting gig was not his first appearance on SNL. He made an appearance on Weekend Update when he first got the gig at NBC Nightly News. I cannot find a clip, but here is a story about it.. http://www.indy.com/posts/1114