David Brinkley is one of the few anchors and newscasters in the history of electronic journalism to revolutionize the way news is presented. With his unique ways and mannerisms, Brinkley changed the profession for the better. He was recognized for his witty and sardonic delivery of news. NBC News, The Huntley-Brinkley Report, followed by the David Brinkley Journal and NBC Nightly News. He departed NBC to join ABC, where he was given the Sunday morning show ‘This Week with David Brinkley’, which he elevated with a novel structure. In addition to being an anchor, journalist, and reporter, he authored three novels, one of which was a bestseller and critically acclaimed.
Early Childhood of David Brinkley
David McClure Brinkley was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, to William Graham and Mary MacDonald Brinkley.
He began writing for the Wilmington Morning Star at a young age. He graduated from New Hanover High School.
He later studied at UNC Chapel Hill, Emory University, and Vanderbilt University.
He joined the US Army in 1941 and served for two years until 1943. He left the service and moved to Washington DC.
A Career of David Brinkley
Instead of a job with CBS News in Washington, DC, he got a White House correspondent post with NBC. In 1952, he began reporting for NBC’s ‘Camel News Caravan’.
He kept that profile for a few years. His moniker was proposed by producer Reuven Frank to anchor the coverage of the Democratic and Republican party conventions in 1956, along with Chet Huntley.
After much deliberation, they approved the couple, who they believed lacked expertise. Both David and Huntley exceeded the NBC executives.
As of October 29, 1956, they had NBC’s prime nightly newscast. The Huntley–Brinkley Report. Huntley covered New York City news, while Brinkley covered Washington DC news.
The Huntley–Brinkley Report quickly earned a large following for its easy news presentation. Unlike CBS News, the program offered information without a sense of seriousness.
The program made him a prominent newscaster and writer. His writing was admired for its conciseness. As a result, he became one of the news channel’s most outstanding writers.
His extensive awareness of the city and its inhabitants also made him popular. He delivered the news with subtle sarcasm, removing the news’s obvious seriousness without diminishing its gravity.
This show was America’s most popular newscast in the 1960s. It was superseded by the Walter Cronkite-hosted CBS Evening News towards the conclusion of the decade.
Aside from NBC’s flagship news show, David Brinkley’s Journal, he also hosted a Ted Yates-produced news magazine. The journal received a George Foster Peabody Award and two Emmy Awards.
After Huntley retired in 1970, the show became NBC Nightly News. He co-hosted the show alongside John Chancellor and Frank McGee.
In 1971, he became a program analyst, leaving the anchoring to John Chancellor. He had to provide a three-minute perspective.
NBC revived the dual-anchor arrangement in 1976, and he worked for the network’s Washington desk until 1979. The show was not as popular as the Huntley-Brinkley Report.
During the 1970s, he hosted many news magazine series, none of which matched the success of NBC Nightly News. His lack of success forced him to depart NBC in 1981, with NBC Magazine being his last show.
After leaving NBC, he joined ABC in 1981. ‘This Week with David Brinkley’ debuted on the network on Sunday mornings. The show competed against ‘Face the Nation’ and ‘Meet the Press’ on CBS and NBC.
This Week with David Brinkley’ transformed news presentation in a short time. An opinionated roundtable debate replaced conventional one-way communication.
After the huge success of ‘This Week with David Brinkley,’ he created a show for ABC honoring WWII. In his 1994 episode, ‘The Battle of the Bulge, 50 years on,’ he interviewed WWII survivors from both sides. It was a major commercial and critical success.
‘This Week with David Brinkley’ ended on November 10, 1996. After retiring from mainstream electronic journalism in 1997, he continued to write modest comments pieces.
Honors & Awards
During his five-decade career, he received 10 Emmy Awards, three George Foster Peabody Awards, and one Alfred I. duPont Award.
President George H. W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Personal Legacy of David Brinkley
He married Ann Fischer in 1946. The couple had three children: Joel, Alan, and John Brinkley. The unison ceased in 1968.
He married Susan Melanie Benfer in 1972 and they have Alexis Brinkley Collins.
In 2003, he died at home in Houston, Texas, after complications from a fall. His remains was buried in Wilmington’s Oakdale Cemetery.
Estimated net Worth
David is one of the wealthiest and most popular TV show hosts. David Brinkley’s net worth is estimated at $1.9 Million by Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.
This American newscaster dubbed then-President Clinton “a bore” and said that if voters re-elected him, they might expect more “goddamned foolishness” for the next four years.