28 News Anchors That Had Long Runs On American Television

These individuals became mainstays of broadcast news.

Broadcast journalism is a fine profession – one that can include many occupational pitfalls. That could be incorrectly announcing someone’s death, or getting knocked over by a tree branch. The skilled men and women who headline newscasts manage to fight through any occupational hazards, though, to effectively (and accurately) report the news. There have been so many talented new anchors who’ve had long careers within the history of the field and delivered small-screen excellence. With that, we’re going to talk about just a fraction of the anchors who’ve had long runs on TV in the U.S.

Bernard Shaw

A former U.S. Marine, the late Bernard Shaw had correspondent stints at CBS News and ABC News throughout the ‘70s. Shaw is arguably best known, however, for his tenure at CNN, which started in 1980. While there, he covered the assassination attempt on President Reagan’s life (with his coverage helping to legitimize the network) as well as the Tiananmen Square protests and the death of Princess Diana. The late anchor retired from the company in 2001 but occasionally made other on-air appearances.

Peter Jennings

Canada native Peter Jennings’ career began in earnest in the early 1960s when he was hired by CTV. He’d soon make it over to the States when ABC tapped him to co-anchor the nightly newscast Peter Jennings With the News. With his hiring at 26, he became the youngest U.S. news anchor ever. After serving as a foreign correspondent and covering the Munich Olympics, the Middle East, and more, he became the sole anchor of World News Tonight in 1983, holding that position until his death in 2005.

(ABC News)
Larry King

A veteran of radio, the iconic Larry King’s first massive TV opportunity arguably came in 1978 when he began hosting The Larry King Show. The media pundit’s most notable program, CNN’s Larry King Live debuted in 1985 and was lauded for its wide-ranging interviews, like those with Louis Farrakhan and Vladimir Putin. King stepped down from the show after 25 years in 2010 but continued to host specials before landing a new show with Ora TV. Weeks after being hospitalized with COVID in early 2021, King died at the age of 87.

(Larry King)
Jim Vance

Washington D.C. natives are likely very familiar with Jim Vance, who was hired by NBC in 1969 to work at its D.C. affiliate, WRC-TV. There, he was an anchor and became one of the first African American journalists to hold down such a job. A winner of more than 17 Emmy Awards, Vance covered major events like the 1977 Hanafi Siege and the Washington Metro train derailment of 1982. By the time Vance died of cancer at 75 in 2017, his 45 years at NBC4 had made him the region’s longest-serving anchor.

Walter Cronkite

When you think of news, you think of Walter Cronkite. The newsman who’d become known as "the most trusted man in America" is most famous for his stint at CBS News, which hired him in 1950. He anchored various programs for the network and, by 1962, he succeeded Douglas Edwards as the anchor of the CBS Evening News. While serving in that post, he notably reported on major events, including the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and the Watergate scandal in the ‘70s. Cronkite formally retired from CBS in 1980 but continued to anchor occasionally until his death at 92 in 2009.

Howard Cosell

One of the most recognizable names in sports journalism, Howard Cosell spent the vast majority of his career with ABC News, where he covered a wide variety of sports news. Aside from his boisterous demeanor and distinct delivery (which made Monday Night Football and other programs exciting), he was known for his relationship with famed boxer Muhammed Ali. He also deftly covered the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich and famously reported on John Lennon’s death during a MNF telecast in 1980. Cosell died at 77 in 1996.

Judy Woodruff

Having gotten her start in local news, Judy Woodruff started working for NBC in 1975. She eventually made her way to PBS, where she soon became the host of Frontline with Judy Woodruff. She joined CNN in 1993 and, as an anchor there, she covered 9/11, the war in Afghanistan, and more. Woodruff eventually returned to PBS in 2007 and hosted NewsHour through 2022. Following her storied tenure covering politics on the show, she continued to work with the network as a correspondent.

(Arthur W. Page Center)
Gwen Ifill

Gwen Ifill, who passed away at 61 in 2016, was arguably one of the most respected broadcasters on TV. After working for The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, she joined PBS’ Washington Week in Review. Her hiring made her the first Black woman to headline a national political talk show. Aside from working with PBS’ NewsHour and making appearances on other notable programs, Ifill moderated presidential debates between 2004 and 2016.

(PBS NewsHour)
Tom Brokaw

Decorated TV anchor Tom Brokaw’s body of work is one that many can only dream of. He joined NBC News in 1966, eventually becoming an anchor of Nightly News in 1973. By 1976, he became a co-host of The Today Show. 1982 saw Brokaw, who’s won numerous Emmys, become the lead anchor and managing editor of Nightly News, and he held that position through 2004. He covered the Challenger explosion, the fall of the Berlin Wall, 9/11 and more, before retiring from NBC after 51 years in 2021.

(NBC News)
Max Robinson

Max Robinson got his start as a reporter in 1959 and covered major events, including the riots that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Robinson reached wider recognition when he joined ABC News in 1978 and co-anchored World News Tonight. He then became the first African American to co-anchor a nightly network newscast. Following his retirement from journalism in 1985, Robinson died at 49 in 1988.

(Reelblack One)
Barbara Walters

A trailblazer for female journalists that everyone should know about is Barbara Walters. One of her first big professional stops was at The Today Show, which tapped her in 1961. When she was named its co-host in 1974, she became the first female co-host on a U.S. news program. Walters would really make her name at ABC, where she hosted Evening News and 20/20. She conducted interviews with various politicians (both domestic and international) over the years and in 1997, created popular talk show The View. Many paid tribute to Walters when she died in 2022 at 93.

(ABC News)
Carole Simpson

Carole Simpson broke down racial barriers in broadcast news. When she joined NBC News in 1975, she became the first Black woman to serve as an anchor for a major newscast. By 1982, Simpson was hired by ABC News and anchored the weekend edition of World News Tonight from 1988 to 2003. She covered numerous topics – and became the first woman of color to moderate a presidential debate – before she retired from ABC in 2005.

(ABC News)
Pete Williams

Pete Williams served as press secretary and legislative assistant to Dick Cheney and worked for the Defense Department before becoming a justice correspondent for NBC News in 1993. He most notably covered the Bosnian War, the Boston Marathon Bombing and the 2021 Capitol car attack. A three-time Emmy winner, Williams retired from journalism in 2022.

(NBC News)
Connie Chung

In the early ‘70s, Connie Chung worked with Walter Cronkite at CBS Evening News. By the early ‘80s, she became an anchor for NBC News at Sunrise and later the weekend edition of Nightly News (during which she felt “invisible”) . At CBS, she anchored Face to Face with Connie Chung and Sunday Evening News. Her other professional stops include ABC, CNN and MSNBC. It’s been noted that as a young professional, she was the second woman and first Asian American to anchor a major U.S. newscast.

Hugh Downs

The late Hugh Downs became a broadcast news institution by hosting The Today Show from 1962 to 1971. He also served as the host of ABC’s 20/20, starting in 1978 and ending in 1999. In addition to journalism, Downs served as the announcer for The Tonight Show from the mid-’50s to the early ‘60s and hosted the game show Concentration from 1958 to 1969.

(ABC News)
Ted Koppel

England-born Ted Koppel originally worked in radio and soon moved to ABC. There, he covered both domestic and international affairs, including Richard Nixon’s visit to China. Koppel is best known for anchoring Nightline from 1980 to 2005. The 25-time Emmy winner eventually left the alphabet network in 2005 and moved to the Discovery Channel, where he developed documentaries.

(Richard Nixon Foundation)
Mike Wallace

Mike Wallace made his way to TV in the ‘50s as a game-show host and then did interview shows (one with ABC) later in the decade. His sit-downs are legendary, including his talk with Malcolm X (which was his first TV interview). Wallace also became one of the first Western journalists to meet with the Ayatollah. He truly solidified his legacy as an anchor through his work on 60 Minutes, which he hosted from 1971 to 2008. Wallace died at 93 in 2012.

David Brinkley

One of the most enduring careers in TV news belongs to David Brinkley, who made his name at NBC. He co-anchored The Huntley–Brinkley Report, from 1956 to 1970 and later headed up NBC Nightly News. Brinkley later joined ABC News and hosted This Week, starting in 1983 and ending in 1996. He retired in 1997, with 10 Emmys under his belt.

(TV Foundation)
Harry Reasoner

Harry Reasoner is remembered, in part, for his work with CBS, for which he covered an array of topics, including JFK’s death. He’s arguably best known for being one of the original anchors of 60 Minutes, first hosting between 1968 and 1970 and then from 1978 to 1991. Amidst those stretches, he also worked at ABC, even co-anchoring Evening News with Barbara Walters.

Dan Rather

Dan Rather rose to prominence while covering JFK’s assassination, the Vietnam War and more for CBS News, which hired him in 1962. Rather eventually took over as anchor of CBS Evening News in 1981, making him the successor to Walter Cronkite following Cronkite's retirement. Before leaving the network due to the Killian documents debacle in 2005, Rather covered Richard Nixon’s presidency, the Challenger Disaster and more for the network.

Ed Bradley

It was in 1971 that Ed Bradley was hired by CBS, and became the first Black White House correspondent for the network. He was later tapped to anchor the Sunday night edition of CBS Evening News. Bradley really made his mark as a co-host on 60 Minutes, headlining the show for 25 years. He died at 65 in 2006.

(60 Minutes)
Howard K. Smith

Anchorman Howard K. Smith was a member of the “Murrow Boys,” who helped make CBS a powerhouse in the ‘40s. While with ABC, he became the co-anchor of Evening News in 1969, and he remained in that post through 1975. Smith formally retired from the network in 1979 and passed away in 2002 at 87.

(TV Foundation)
Roger Mudd

There are more than a few major credits on Roger Mudd’s resume, including a stint at CBS News that started in 1961. He left in 1981 and moved to NBC to co-anchor Nightly News and later Meet the Press. Later in his career, he worked with PBS’ MacNeil–Lehrer Newshour and hosted for the History Channel. He retired from broadcasting in 2004 and died in 2021 at 93.

(Washington and Lee University)
Stuart Scott

Stuart Scott helped revitalize sports journalism when he joined ESPN in 1993 and began co-anchoring SportsSmash and later SportsCenter. When covering basketball, baseball and other athletics, he managed to meld sports with pop culture. Scott interviewed a wide range of public figures from Tiger Woods to Barack Obama. Following Scott’s death in 2015 at 49, he remains known for his unique style and sayings, making him cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Linda Ellerbee

The one and only Linda Ellerbee was a mainstay at NBC, anchoring various programs from 1976 to 1984. She also had stints at ABC’s Good Morning America and CNN. Ellerbee also shed light on young people’s stories through her long-running program Nick News, which won nine Emmys.

Neil Everett

Neil Everett is one of the many hosts who has co-anchored SportsCenter at ESPN. He was hired to head up the West Coast edition of the newscast in 1999 and became a fan-favorite personality. Everett confirmed in 2023 that he was leaving the show, as well as the network.

(KGW News)
Chet Huntley

In 1956, NBC hired Chet Huntley to improve his ratings and he helped do so once he began co-hosting The Huntley-Brinkley Report alongside David Brinkley. The show ran for 14 years, with the widely lauded Huntley ultimately signing off for the final time in 1970. He died at the age of 62 in 1974.

John Chancellor

NBC News had a real master of the craft on its hands when John Chancellor was working there. Originally a correspondent for The Huntley-Brinkley Report during his first stint with the network, he returned in 1968 and became the show’s co-anchor in 1970. By that point, the show was renamed NBC Nightly News, and Chancellor remained on the program until 1982.

(Columbia School of Journalism)

We're going to discuss news anchors who had long careers on TV in the United States.