Jessica Beth Savitch (February 1, 1947 – October 23, 1983) was an American television broadcaster and news reporter, host of PBS's Frontline and New York weekend anchor of NBC Nightly News during the short-lived Roger Mudd/Tom Brokaw era.
Savitch was born in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, about 35 miles west of Philadelphia. She was the eldest daughter of Florence (née Goldberger), a navy nurse, and David Savitch, who ran a clothing store. Her father and maternal grandfather were Jewish, and her maternal grandmother was Italian American and Catholic. After her father died in 1959, her family moved to Margate, New Jersey (a suburb of Atlantic City).
Savitch attended Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, where she worked at the campus radio and TV stations, and at WOND 1400, a newstalk station in Linwood, NJ, WROC (AM), and as a top 40 disk jockey at WBBF, an AM outlet in Rochester.
After graduating in the spring of 1968, Savitch worked at various radio and TV stations, including WCBS in New York and KHOU-TV in Houston. She then became a popular local television newscaster at KYW-TV, the former NBC affiliate (now CBS) in Philadelphia, and a Washington correspondent for NBC News.
In 1977, Savitch joined NBC News, becoming the network’s first woman to anchor a weekend national newscast. She was also the first woman to anchor the flagship NBC Nightly News, periodically filling in for John Chancellor and David Brinkley. She did not fare as well in some of the ill-fitting reporter roles given to her, but a 1982 TV Guide poll named her one of the most trusted news anchors in the country, above many of the most established male anchors of the era.
In 1982 her autobiography, Anchorwoman, was published. The following year she became an anchor for Frontline on PBS...
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