Innovative TV news co-host Lloyd Dobyns dies at 85

Lloyd Dobyns, an award-winning NBC News correspondent who in the early 1980s was the co-host of the ground-breaking “NBC News Overnight”...


Lloyd Dobyns, an award-winning NBC News correspondent who in the early 1980s was the co-host of the ground-breaking “NBC News Overnight” newscast, died Sunday in Mebane, NC, northwest of Raleigh. He was 85 years old.

Her son Kenneth said the cause was complications from a series of strokes.

Mr. Dobyns has worked for NBC News in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and has won more than two dozen awards for his reporting, writing and anchoring. He was probably best known for working with Linda Ellerbee on “NBC News Overnight,” the first of several late-night news programs launched by broadcast networks in an attempt to compete with 24-hour news coverage. introduced in 1980 by CNN.

Lloyd Allen Dobyns Jr. was born March 12, 1936 in Newport News, Virginia. After serving in the military, he began his broadcasting career in 1957 as a reporter for WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Virginia. Three years later, he became a news anchor at WAVY-TV, the NBC affiliate in the Tidewater, Virginia area. He later became the station’s chief information officer.

In 1969 he moved to New York City, where he worked first as a news editor for WNEW-TV, then on the NBC News team. He was a foreign correspondent before returning to New York to host the television news magazine “Weekend”, for which he won a Peabody Award in 1975.

Mr. Dobyns defined the style of “Weekend” with an ironic and witty style both as a writer and as a reporter, later complemented by the equally funny and irreverent Ms. Ellerbee. The two teamed up again in July 1982 for “NBC News Overnight,” which aired 1:30 to 2:30 on weekdays and 2 to 3 a.m. on Saturdays.

Reviewing “NBC News Overnight” for the New York Times in 1982, John J. O’Connor called it “one of the classiest new acts on the news” and noted: “Mr. Dobyns and Miss Ellerbee both pride themselves on their writing skills and, more than anything else, their collaborations in this area give the program its appealing personality.

But ratings for the program were poor and NBC canceled it in November 1983. “It was our best news hour and remains the model for a one hour news product,” said Reuven Frank. , chairman of NBC News, at the time. “But being the best is not enough when the cost is so much greater than the income.” (Mr. Dobyns was then gone to host the NBC news magazine “Monitor,” which also had a short lifespan due to low ratings.)

In a statement, Ms Ellerbee called Mr Dobyns a “world-class friend, teacher, troublemaker and journalist”.

Mr. Dobyns retired from NBC in 1986 and went on to teach journalism at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Ala.

Besides his son Kenneth, he is survived by his wife, Patti; two daughters, Denise and Alison; and eight grandchildren. Another son, Brian, and a brother, Norman, died before him.

The New York Times contributed reporting.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Innovative TV news co-host Lloyd Dobyns dies at 85
Innovative TV news co-host Lloyd Dobyns dies at 85
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