Huntley is most famous for his role as co-anchor of the critically
acclaimed and highly rated The Huntley-Brinkley Report. This
evening newscast, which first appeared in October 1956 on NBC, ushered
in the modern era for television evening news. The Huntley-Brinkley
Report introduced an innovative broadcast style, cutting between
Huntley in New York and David Brinkley in Washington, D.C. The energy,
pace, and style of the program was clearly a step beyond the more
conventional work of "news readers" who had preceded the new format.
rise to broadcast news stardom began during his senior year at the
University of Washington when he landed his first broadcasting job
at Seattle's KPCB radio. His roles for the station ranged from writer
and announcer to salesman, and his salary was a mere S10 a month.
These modest beginnings led to several short stints at radio stations
in the northwest, but by 1937 Huntley settled in Los Angeles. He
worked first at KFI Los Angeles, and then at CBS News in the west.
He stayed with CBS for 12 years until he was lured to ABC in 1951.
His tour of the networks was complete when NBC enticed him to New
York in 1955 with talk of a major TV news program.
first worked with Brinkley in 1956 while co-anchoring the Republican
and Democratic National Conventions of that year. The NBC duo successfully
garnered the largest share of the convention television audience,
and as a result, the Huntley-Brinkley team was born. The Huntley-Brinkley
Report's audience was estimated at 20 million, and in 1965,
a consumer research company found that, as a result of their hugely
successful news program, both Huntley and Brinkley were more recognizable
to American adults than such famous stars as Cary Grant, James Stewart
or the Beatles.
his impressive career, however, Huntley developed a reputation for
airing his personal opinions on-air, and he was once accused of
editorializing with his eyebrows. In the 1950s, he candidly criticized
Senator Joseph McCarthy's outrageous allegations of Communist sympathy
among government officials and members of Hollywood's film industry.
a cattle owner in his native Montana, Huntley's endorsements for
the beef industry during the 1960s again brought criticism from
other professionals. His only apparent disagreement with his partner
came during 1967, when Huntley crossed an American Federation of
Television and Radio Artists' picket line claiming that news anchors
did not belong in the same union as "actors, singers, and dancers."
his critics, Huntley received an estimated $200,000 salary from
NBC during the height of The Huntley-Brinkley Report's time
on the air. He also earned several prestigious news industry awards
including an Alfred I. duPont Award, a George Polk Memorial Award,
two Overseas Press Club Awards, and, with Brinkley, eight Emmy Awards.
He was named the International Radio and Television Society's "Broadcaster
of the Year" in 1970.
The Huntley-Brinkley Report's ceremonial closing, "Good night,
David," "Good night, Chet" would have been heard for the last time
on 1 August 1970, when Huntley retired from broadcasting, but Brinkley
altered his words to "Good-bye, Chet." As he signed of, Huntley
left his audience with one final plea: "Be patient and have courage--there
will be better and happier news some day, if we work at it."
retired to his native Montana, where he worked to develop the Big
Sky resort. His love for the state and its people is evident in
his memoir, The Generous Years: Remembrances of a Frontier Boyhood.
HUNTLEY. Born in Cardwell, Montana, U.S.A., 10 December 1911.
Educated at the University of Washington. Married: 1) Ingrid Rolin
(divorced 1959); children, two daughters; 2) Tipton Stringer. Began
career as a radio announcer, KPCB, Seattle, Washington; announcer,
disk jockey and writer, Spokane, Washington and Portland, Oregon;
joined KFI, Los Angeles in 1937; CBS News, Los Angeles, 1939-51;
newscaster and correspondent, ABC television, 1951-55; newscaster
and correspondent, NBC television, 1955-70; teamed with David Brinkley
as co-anchor of The Huntley-Brinkley Report 1956-70; retired
to Montana, 1960, to pursue business interests. Recipient: Alfred
I. DuPont Award, George Polk Memorial Award, two Overseas Press
Club Awards; eight Emmy Awards, with Brinkley. Died, 20 March 1974.
The Huntley-Brinkley Report
The Generous Years: Remembrances of a Frontier Boyhood. New
York: Random House, 1964.
Thomas, editor. Television News Anchors: An Anthology of Profiles
of the Major Figures and Issues in United States Network Reporting.
Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 1993.
Frank, Reuven. Out of Thin Air: The Brief Wonderful Life of Network
News. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991.
See also Anchor;