TV

Thomas Roberts Becomes First Out Gay Man To Host Nightly Network News

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If you caught the NBC Nightly News last night, you saw a moment in history: Thomas Roberts became the first openly gay person to anchor an evening newscast on a major broadcast network.

Of course with cable and the Web that doesn’t have quite the same impact as it may have a decade ago, but its still a breakthrough.

Roberts, 42, told the Advocate that it was a “huge honor.”

His lead story was about Donald Trump’s attack on Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee and a former prisoner of war.

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Roberts recently pulled out of hosting the Trump-owned Miss USA contest over the candidate’s remarks about immigrants. Sam Champion was the first host to come out on a morning news program, Good Morning America, followed by co-host Robin Roberts. And of course, Anderson Cooper is all over CNN.

Previously with CNN, Roberts now calls MSNBC home, where he joins out commentator Rachel Maddow.

Since Lester Holt took the main nightly slot on NBC, the network has had a variety of anchors on the weekend, including Peter Alexander, Carl Quintanilla, Savannah Guthrie, Kate Snow and Willie Geist.

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Roberts with husband Patrick Abner

In March, the Advocate asked Roberts if he was being groomed for a nightly news anchor slot. “They haven’t called yet. It would be historic, and I am willing and able,” he replied. “I’m working in the land of opportunity.”

Below, watch NBC Nightly News with Thomas Roberts.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery