The Best Retired News Anchors

Over 300 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Retired News Anchors
Voting Rules
Vote up the former news anchors, presenters, and commentators who were the best on-air.

For decades, people have turned on the news to receive up-to-date information about political processes and new trends. They grow accustomed to seeing the same faces night after night, and although these news anchors are no longer on the air, people still remember them fondly. You may remember sitting down with your parents at the end of the day and learning about current events with one of these familiar faces. Which of these retired news anchors hold a special place in your nostalgia?

Tom Brokaw has always been one of the most trusted faces in American news. He is the only person to have ever hosted all of NBC's evening news programs, which includes Meet the Press, NBC Nightly News, and The Today Show. He has also written several books about American history, putting his knowledge of current events on full display for everyone to see. But before Brokaw, there was Hugh Downs. He was a host for NBC News as well as several other programs over the years. 

These former news anchors may have retired long ago, but they live on within the annals of journalism. There is much that journalists of today can learn from them, so vote for the ones you wish were still on the air to provide information and insight. 

Most divisive: Bernard Shaw
Ranked by
  • Walter Cronkite
    Dec. at 92 (1916-2009)
    164 votes
    • Birthplace: St. Joseph, Missouri, USA

    Formerly of: CBS News

    Walter Leland Cronkite Jr. (November 4, 1916 – July 17, 2009) was an American broadcast journalist who served as anchorman for the CBS Evening News for 19 years (1962–1981). During the heyday of CBS News in the 1960s and 1970s, he was often cited as "the most trusted man in America" after being so named in an opinion poll.He reported many events from 1937 to 1981, including bombings in World War II; the Nuremberg trials; combat in the Vietnam War; the Dawson's Field hijackings; Watergate; the Iran Hostage Crisis; and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King Jr., and Beatles musician John Lennon. He was also known for his extensive coverage of the U.S. space program, from Project Mercury to the Moon landings to the Space Shuttle. He was the only non-NASA recipient of an Ambassador of Exploration award.Cronkite is well known for his departing catchphrase, "And that's the way it is," followed by the date of the broadcast.
  • David Brinkley
    Dec. at 82 (1920-2003)
    104 votes
    • Birthplace: Wilmington, USA, North Carolina

    Formerly of: The Huntley-Brinkley Report NBC

    David McClure Brinkley (July 10, 1920 – June 11, 2003) was an American newscaster for NBC and ABC in a career lasting from 1943 to 1997. From 1956 through 1970, he co-anchored NBC's top-rated nightly news program, The Huntley–Brinkley Report, with Chet Huntley and thereafter appeared as co-anchor or commentator on its successor, NBC Nightly News, through the 1970s. In the 1980s and 1990s, Brinkley was host of the popular Sunday This Week with David Brinkley program and a top commentator on election-night coverage for ABC News. Over the course of his career, Brinkley received ten Emmy Awards, three George Foster Peabody Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.He wrote three books, including the 1988 bestseller Washington Goes to War, about how World War II transformed the nation's capital. This social history was largely based on his own observations as a young reporter in the city.
  • Edward R. Murrow
    Dec. at 57 (1908-1965)
    82 votes
    • Birthplace: Greensboro, North Carolina, USA

    Formerly of: CBS Reports

    Edward Roscoe Murrow (born Egbert Roscoe Murrow; April 25, 1908 – April 27, 1965) was an American broadcast journalist and war correspondent. He first gained prominence during World War II with a series of live radio broadcasts from Europe for the news division of CBS. During the war he recruited and worked closely with a team of war correspondents who came to be known as the Murrow Boys. A pioneer of radio and television news broadcasting, Murrow produced a series of reports on his television program See It Now which helped lead to the censure of Senator Joseph McCarthy. Fellow journalists Eric Sevareid, Ed Bliss, Bill Downs, Dan Rather, and Alexander Kendrick consider Murrow one of journalism's greatest figures, noting his honesty and integrity in delivering the news.
  • Harry Reasoner
    Dec. at 68 (1923-1991)
    89 votes
    • Birthplace: Dakota City, Iowa, USA

    Formerly of: CBS News and ABC News

    Harry Truman Reasoner (April 17, 1923 – August 6, 1991) was an American journalist for ABC and CBS News, known for his inventive use of language as a television commentator, and as a founder of the 60 Minutes program. Over the course of his career, Reasoner won three Emmy Awards and a George Foster Peabody Award in 1967.
  • Peter Jennings
    Dec. at 67 (1938-2005)
    93 votes
    • Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Formerly of: ABC News

    Peter Charles Archibald Ewart Jennings (July 29, 1938 – August 7, 2005) was a Canadian-American journalist who served as the sole anchor of ABC World News Tonight from 1983 until his death from lung cancer in 2005. He dropped out of high school, yet he transformed himself into one of American television's most prominent journalists. Jennings started his career early, hosting a Canadian radio show at age 9. He began his professional career with CJOH-TV in Ottawa during its early years, anchoring the local newscasts and hosting the teen dance show Saturday Date on Saturdays. In 1965, ABC News tapped him to anchor its flagship evening news program. Critics and others in the television news business attacked his inexperience, making his job difficult. He became a foreign correspondent in 1968, reporting from the Middle East. Jennings returned as one of World News Tonight's three anchormen in 1978, and he was promoted to sole anchorman in 1983. He was also known for his marathon coverage of breaking news stories, staying on the air for 15 hours or more to anchor the live broadcast of events such as the Gulf War in 1991, the Millennium celebrations in 2000, and the September 11 attacks in 2001. In addition to anchoring, he was the host of many ABC News special reports and moderated several American presidential debates. He was always fascinated with the United States and became an American citizen in 2003. Jennings was one of the "Big Three" news anchormen, along with Tom Brokaw of NBC and Dan Rather of CBS, who dominated American evening network news from the early 1980s until his death in 2005, which closely followed the retirements of Brokaw in 2004 and Rather in 2005.
  • Chet Huntley
    Dec. at 62 (1911-1974)
    59 votes
    • Birthplace: USA, Montana, Cardwell

    Formerly of: The Huntley-Brinkley Report

    Chester Robert "Chet" Huntley (December 10, 1911 – March 20, 1974) was an American television newscaster, best known for co-anchoring NBC's evening news program, The Huntley-Brinkley Report, for 14 years beginning in 1956.