In a major coup for NBC, Harry Smith, one of the stalwarts of CBS News for 25 years, has been lured away by Brian Williams and NBC News.
Smith, 59, is going to NBC to join the prime-time news series Williams is developing for the NBC lineup next fall. The NBC part of the story was reported by the Hollywood Reporter. NBC did not immediately confirm the hire, but CBS News sources confirmed that Smith is leaving.
And, apparently, his leaving will be cordial, at least according to the tone of an internal memo circulated by CBS News President David Rhodes on Friday and obtained by XfinityTV. In the memo, Rhodes was very complimentary about Smith’s long, reliable tenure at CBS. “Harry Smith has been a fixture here at CBS News for a generation,” Rhodes wrote, “but today he’s decided to move on.
“Harry conducted news-making interviews with the biggest names in politics and entertainment. During the course of his career here, Harry sat down with six presidents, from Barack Obama back to Richard Nixon. . . . If you see Harry around the newsroom in New York today, or otherwise are able to reach out, please join us in wishing him well.”
Smith was CBS News’ jack-of-all-trades since 1986, including two stints as co-anchor of CBS’s morning shows – most recently co-hosting “The Early Show” until he and the rest of the on-air personalities were replaced last November.
Smith was also a frequent substitute anchor on “The CBS Evening News” – subbing for Dan Rather and then Katie Couric – and a presence on the CBS Radio Network.