Tom Brokaw On Non-Retirement, WWII And What's Next: TCA

Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.

The rumors of Tom Brokaw‘s disappearance from the public stage have been greatly exaggerated, if not outright wrong. Brokaw departed the NBC Nightly News anchor chair in 2004 but has remained plenty active, making four TV documentaries, writing a pair of books and continuing to cover special projects and the political landscape (including election season) for NBC News. And as Brokaw detailed at TCA in a discussion conducted via satellite from the site of the Summer Olympics in London, he’s now in business with Discovery Networks’ Military Channel with the new series The Brokaw Files that has its premiere on the channel October 16. The series promises to revisit pivotal moments in history through the esteemed newsman’s eyes, supplying first-hand accounts from the breadth of Brokaw’s career. But he cautioned this afternoon that this doesn’t represent his coming out of retirement, since Brokaw never in fact retired and has no plans to. “The idea was that I would shift gears and not retire,” he said. “I was very active in the last election cycle and now this one as well. So it isn’t as if I went and stepped onto the beach and went for a long walk and now decided to be on cable.” Brokaw said he was in London doing some long essays about England through the lens of historical insight, going back to the time of one his favorite subjects: World War II. “So I’ve stayed very active,” he added. “This is just another piece of it.”

When asked a question about all the mistakes being made in TV network news lately, Brokaw declined to take the bait and pile on. He pointed out that he believes “mistakes have always been a part of journalism, including the print business. There’s just a lot more of it on the air now because the pressure to get on the air first now is considerable. But the important part of making a mistake is recognizing it, acknowledging it, apologizing for it, and moving on.” And speaking of moving on, after the Olympics Brokaw plans to move straight into covering the forthcoming Presidential election.” As he already emphasized, the old folks home is going to be on hold for a while. “I’m at an age and a stage where I could put my feet up and go to the old anchorman’s rest home and eat soft food, but I’m not going to do that. It’s just too exciting out there.”

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