Connie Chung’s ascension to the CBS anchor desk is the first big news in network evening news for the past decade. In fact, over the last 45 years, fewer than two dozen broadcasters have made their way to the big chair. Here’s a look at the legacy that Chung inherits from the founding fathers-and mother. May 3, 1948 TV evening news as we know it is born when CBS launches the 15-minute Douglas Edwards With the News.
Aug. 11, 1948 ABC’s News and Views, with H.R. Baukhage and Jim Gibbons, debuts, lasts three years. ABC tries again in 1953 with John Daly and the News.
Feb. 14, 1949 NBC, a groundbreaker since its coverage of WWII in 1944, premieres the 15- minute Camel News Caravan with anchor John Cameron Swayze.
Oct. 29, 1956 Chet Huntley and David Brinkley replace Swayze on NBC; witty and well-matched, they become the first TV news sensations.
December 1960 ABC begins a long round of musical anchor chairs, starting with Bill Lawrence, Al Mann, NBC vet Swayze, and Bill Shadel. Ron Cochran follows in 1963. Peter Jennings, only 26, replaces him in 1965.
April 16, 1962 Walter Cronkite succeeds Edwards as anchor of The CBS Evening News. ”And that’s the way it is” becomes a household phrase.
Sept. 2, 1963 The CBS Evening News is the first to expand from 15 to 30 minutes; Huntley- Brinkley follows suit a week later. ABC, lacking resources, doesn’t stretch its broadcast until January 1967, with Jennings at the helm.
January 1968 ABC’s second round of chair-trading: Bob Young takes over; Frank Reynolds steps in four months later. Howard K. Smith joins Reynolds in 1969, then gets Harry Reasoner as a partner. Smith and Reasoner co-anchor from 1970 to 1975.
Jan. 31, 1970 Huntley retires. NBC rotates Brinkley, John Chancellor, and Frank McGee for a year. Chancellor solos in 1971; Brinkley joins him from 1976 to 1979.
April 22,1976 Babara Walers becomes co-anchor of ABC’s Evening News with Reasoner. The chemistry between them is terrible, and both leave two years later
Aug. 25, 1978 The retitled ABC World News Tonight gets three anchors-Max Robinson in Chicago, Jennings in London, and Frank Reynolds in Washington.
March 6, 1981 Cronkite retires as anchor, replaced by Dan Rather. Ratings plummet. CBS repaints the set, and Rather starts wearing sweaters. Ratings perk up.
April 16, 1982 Tom Brokaw leaves Today to co-anchor NBC Nightly News with Roger Mudd (who had lost the CBS slot to Rather). Mudd is dropped the next year.
July 20, 1983 Reynolds dies from bone cancer, and ABC scraps the troika method. Jennings again becomes the net- work’s sole anchor. Everyone sits tight at the three networks until Chung arrives at CBS Evening News in June 1993 to time-share with Rather.