“My job is to give you a little break from being sad, and I will try my best to do that,” he told his Hollywood studio audience and viewers at home.
CBS’s late-night statesman, and recent Kennedy Center Honors recipient, David Letterman spoke passionately on the subject to his Manhattan studio audience for nearly seven minutes — an eternity on broadcast TV. Delivering the kind of commentary that viewers once got at the end of network evening newscasts, Letterman referenced pages of research on gun violence he had with him at his desk:
“Since 1994, there have been 70 episodes of school shootings — and we don’t have them all here, and we limited it to schools. . . . I would have thought one a year would be too many,” he said mournfully.
NBC late-night hosts gave the subject a pass in their Monday monologues, but that network had already confronted the difficult transition, opening “Saturday Night Live” last weekend with a New York children’s choir singing “Silent Night” in lieu of the show’s trademark comedic cold-opener.
TBS’s Conan O’Brien touched on the “insanely mindless tragedy” for only the briefest of moments, before telling his Warner Bros.-lot audience that he would skip the traditional opening monologue — which he called “the news part of the show” — and instead “do silly and pointless comedy” because “when you think about it, that’s all I’m really good at.” Then he brought out one of his trademark holiday characters, Minty the Candy Cane That Briefly Fell on the Ground.
Comedy Central late-night shows, meanwhile, were in repeats.
NBC reporter on ‘Today’
After doing its best to enforce a news blackout on a report that chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel had been missing in Syria since last week, NBC News featured Engel and two of his crew members Tuesday morning on the ratings-hungry “Today” show.
“We begin with the news we just received this morning. . . . Richard Engel and his team were freed from captors in Syria, where they were held for five days,” said “Today” show co-anchor Savannah Guthrie as she kicked off the broadcast. She added: “Gentlemen, good morning, and let me be the first to say it is so good to see your faces.”
NBC had been trying to enforce a news blackout on what it called “rumors” about Engel having been ambushed by gunmen not long after entering Syria; he was there to cover the fight against President Bashar al-Assad. After holding off the press for a time, the network was thwarted by Turkish media online reports.
“After being kidnapped and held for five days inside Syria by an unknown group, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel and his production crew members have been freed unharmed,” NBC announced Tuesday morning in a statement.