Veteran broadcaster Roger Mudd dies

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Broadcast icon and journalist Roger Mudd died March 9, 2021.

Mudd’s career spanned more than three decades that was mostly spent on television but also included a newspaper and radio station.

During his radio days, he would eventually rise to host the daily noon newscast on Richmond, Virginia station WRNL.

After a brief stint in law school, Mudd would eventually join WTOP in Washington, D.C., as a reporter and eventually becoming an anchor. WTOP would later change call signs to WUSA, though the letters live on in the radio world.

While at WTOP, Mudd was spotted by CBS News executives, who shared an office with the station and hired him as a congressional correspondent in 1951. He also became anchor of the weekend editions of “CBS Evening News.”

He was widely considered as a replacement for Walter Cronkite after he retired from “Evening,” but the job ended up going to Dan Rather.

CBS reportedly offered Mudd the chance to co-anchor with Rather, but the final result was Mudd departing CBS from NBC in 1980.

He would go on to co-anchor “NBC Nightly News” with Tom Brokaw from April 1982 to September 1983, when Brokaw was appointed sole anchor. Following that, Mudd co-moderated “Meet the Press” with Marvin Kalb and also co-anchored newsmagazines “American Almanac” and “1986” with Connie Chung.

Mudd anchored “Nightly” from Washington, while Brokaw was in New York but the format ended up being short lived despite rival ABC’s success with three co-anchors scattered around the globe.

He departed NBC in 1987 for the then “MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour,” now “PBS NewsHour,” where he offered essays and political reports until 1992. Following that, he spent time teaching at Princeton and Washington and Lee University, his alma mater.

His later career also included serving as main anchor for The History Channel. He continued to contribute work to documentaries for the network until his death, despite retiring full time in 2004.

Mudd was 93 and died from complications surrounding kidney failure at his home in McLean, Virginia.

He is survived by four children, 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was married to his wife, E.J., until her death in 2011.

Mudd is also a distant relative of Samuel Mudd, the man jailed for his role in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Samuel Mudd, a doctor, treated John Wilkes Booth for the leg injury he sustained after jumping from the presidential box onto the stage of Ford Theatre after shooting the president.