LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar-winning actor Michael Douglas doesn't have to memorize too many lines for his latest role -- a recorded voice-over introducing the "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams."
The 63-year-old Hollywood star debuted on Monday night as the new announcer for the network newscast -- "This is the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" -- succeeding Howard Reig, who opened the program live for 25 years and retired in 2005.
NBC News had been using a recording of Reig's voice to introduce Williams since then.
Williams, who took over as the Nightly News anchor when Tom Brokaw retired in December 2004, said in a statement that he appealed to the actor's "sense of romance and sentimentality" to persuade him to take the job.
"I called him and said, 'On top of all you've done as an actor, producer and Academy Award winner, this will mean a small slice of immortality in our industry,"' Williams recounted. "'It also means wherever you are on Earth, at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time, you'll know your voice is on the air."'
Douglas, who is married to Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, earned an Oscar as best actor for his role as the ruthless tycoon Gordon Gekko in the 1986 film "Wall Street," whose most memorable line was, "Greed is good."
He also famously co-starred opposite Sharon Stone in "Basic Instinct," Kathleen Turner in "Romancing the Stone" and Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction." His father is screen legend Kirk Douglas.
NBC is not the first network to introduce its news with a Hollywood voice-over. Actor James Earl Jones has long intoned the signature line "This is CNN" for Cable News Network.
Former CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite introduces the "CBS Evening News with Katie Couric." The ABC News voice-over is done by Bill Rice, who has introduced that network's newscast for over three decades.
Editing by Eric Beech