Named after its anchors, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, The Huntley-Brinkley Report was first aired on NBC in 1956. The fifteen minute news program was initially ill-received by audiences who had enjoyed the show’s predecessor (Camel News Caravan with John Cameron Swayze), including President Eisenhower, who let it be known that he was displeased with the switch. Even the show’s producer, Reuven Frank, had doubts, later stating that he believed using two anchors on one news program was one of the dumber ideas he’d ever heard.
By 1958, however, the format proved that it worked with the show winning a Peabody Award for “Outstanding Achievement in News.” Surveys showed that one thing the viewers loved was Huntley and Brinkley’s chemistry, despite them having little interaction on the screen; the only time they talked to one another was when they were passing the spotlight for the next news segment (“Back to you, Chet.”) and at the end of the program when they delivered the famous catchphrase, “Goodnight, Chet. Goodnight, David. And goodnight for NBC News.”
The Huntley-Brinkley Report remained popular up until its final broadcast in 1970 (though ratings slipped in the late ‘60s) and the program’s anchors became some the most recognizable celebrities of the era. In Montana, citizens particularly celebrated the success of Huntley, who was
a native of the Treasure State. In fact, in 1968 Huntley published a memoir of his Montana childhood, titled The Generous Years: Remembrances of a Frontier Boyhood. Though The Huntley-Brinkley Report has largely fallen out of memory, Huntley’s boyhood school in Saco stands as a reminder of the news anchor’s significance in Pop Culture and the world of broadcasting.