Welcome to the evening-news wars, Meghan Rafferty.
NBC News named the producer to lead its “NBC Nightly News,” replacing Jenn Suozzo, who recently departed for a senior role at CNN. In a memo to staffers Thursday, NBC News President Noah Oppenheim cited Rafferty’s “keen news instincts and innovative vision” and indicated she would play a role in helping the newscast not only in its linear edition, but in new formats across digital venues. Lester Holt has anchored the evening broadcast since early 2015, and has differentiated it in part by adding sober commentary to the end of some shows when the headlines seem particularly dire or unsettling.
Rafferty, who joined NBC News in 2017 after a stint working at CNN with anchor Wolf Blitzer, had been a senior producer on the weekend edition of “Nightly” and then a senior broadcast producer on the weekday broadcast.
She joins the show at a time when its linear broadcast has been second to ABC News’ “World News Tonight” in both overall audiences as well as the viewers ages 25-54 that advertisers covet. During the recently completed 2020-2021 season, “World News” captured an average of nearly 1.69 million viewers between 25 and 54, compared with approximately 1.41 million for “Nightly News” and an average of 984,000 for “CBS Evening News.”
Rafferty, who has been leading the “Nightly News” broadcast since Suozzo stepped away, has “skillfully led the team through the unique challenges we faced during the onset of the pandemic and became a steadfast presence in the control room during those early days of uncertainty,” Oppenheim said.