May 29, 2002 01:00 PM

Tom Brokaw out, Brian Williams in — though not for another 2 1/2 years. On Tuesday, NBC announced a generational change. In November of 2004, Brian Williams, 43, will take over the network’s “Nightly News” anchor seat that has been occupied by Tom Brokaw, 62, since 1983. Brokaw, according to press reports covering the news conference, will remain with NBC News through 2007. The news was hardly surprising, with speculation over the past few months (including in a lengthy May 19 New York Times Magazine cover piece about the future of network anchors) more about when the succession was going to happen rather than who would replace Brokaw. Williams, who for the past six years has anchored MSNBC’s little-seen nightly newscasts and regularly sits in when Brokaw is on vacation or away on assignment, has long been the heir apparent. Previously he was NBC’s chief White House correspondent from 1994 to 1996. “I am a 43-year-old anachronism,” said Williams on Tuesday, as quoted by the Associated Press. “I am the kid in front of the TV set wondering what it was like to anchor the evening news.” Said Brokaw, according to the AP: “I wanted to continue, but I wanted to do it in a way that, in fairness to Brian and the organization . . . that there would be some date certain so that he could plan his future and the organization can plan for a reasonable and orderly transition.” Terms of the contracts between NBC and the two men were not disclosed. Brokaw said at the news conference that he wanted to cover the 2004 presidential election, and that that night will be his last.

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