CNN has James Earl Jones. Now the Peacock net is getting a little vocal star power of its own.
Oscar winner Michael Douglas made his debut as the new announcer of NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams Monday, with his recorded introduction: "From NBC News world headquarters in New York, this is NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams."
Douglas padded his IMDb stats by replacing longtime announcer Howard Reig. Reig was the live voice of the newscast for 25 years, before retiring in 2005. Until Monday, the show had been using a recorded version of Reig's intro.
However, while Douglas purred the introduction at the show's start, Williams waited until the end of the newscast to reveal the identity of his new unlikely colleague.
"Before we go tonight, as promised, a word about the new voice you heard at the top of the broadcast tonight," he said. "Yes, that is Michael Douglas...the great Michael Douglas, actor, producer and Academy Award winner.
"Starting tonight, and hereafter, we welcome Michael Douglas as a rather prominent new member of the NBC News family."
According to Williams, the 63-year-old star agreed to lend his vocal cords to the program after the anchor made a personal appeal to the actor's "sense of romance and sentimentality."
"I called him and said, 'On top of all you've done as an actor, producer and Academy Award winner, this will mean a small slice of immortality in our industry,' " he told Catherine Zeta-Jones' other half. " 'It also means wherever you are on Earth, at 6:30 p.m. ET, you'll know your voice is on the air.' "
That, apparently, was all it took.
"To my great and everlasting surprise, he accepted immediately," Williams said. "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. But as small things go, it's a terrific way to get the evening started."
Douglas recorded the quickie voiceover in a remote studio and worked for scale, donating the whole of his payday to charity.
In addition to James Earl Jones, who has long intoned, "This is CNN," Douglas joins the ranks of Walter Cronkite, who introduces the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, and Bill Rice, the voice of ABC's World News and World News Tonight for the past three decades.