Douglas gives voice to NBC News


NEW YORK -- CNN might have James Earl Jones, but "NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams" now has its own Hollywood connection: Michael Douglas.

The Oscar-winning actor-producer is the new voice for the opener of the newscast. He replaces Howard Reig, whose voice introduced Williams and predecessors Tom Brokaw and John Chancellor during the course of 25 years. Reig retired in 2005, but his voice remained until Monday, when Douglas' voice made its debut.

Williams said Tuesday that NBC News had been looking for a replacement for Reig for the past two years but wanted to make sure it found the right voice. Williams had been on a panel in Boston with Douglas and his father, Kirk, then called Douglas later to ask whether he would do it.

"To my great and everlasting surprise, he accepted immediately," Williams said.

Douglas went to a remote studio and did the voice-over, which doesn't take a lot of time. He worked for scale and donated his fees to charity.

NBC's choice is a different one among network newscasts. Walter Cronkite has been the voice at the beginning of the "CBS Evening News With Katie Couric" since the broadcast began in September 2006. He replaced Wendell Craig, who still works for CBS. ABC's voice-over is done by Bill Rice, who has been the "World News" and "World News Tonight" announcer for more than 30 years.

Jones does the voice-over for CNN.

Williams said the network's announcers can, over time, become as iconic as the newscasts.

"It's small in the scope of things, and it doesn't affect how we cover stories or anything about how we view our world," Williams said. "But as small things go, it's a terrific way to get the evening started."