Brian Williams wasn't around to anchor the NBC Nightly News Thursday night, but he had a good excuse: He was getting inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame by Bruce Springsteen himself!
"To paraphrase a friend of mine, if Walter Cronkite and Jon Stewart had a baby, and due to the ongoing controversy over same sex-marriage they had to abandon that baby on the New Jersey turnpike, and it grew up to be a news anchor, its name would be Brian Douglas Williams," quipped Springsteen in his introduction (see the whole thing, including Williams' acceptance speech, in the video from NJ.com).
A native of Middletown, New Jersey, Williams even volunteered as a firefighter in the state when he was just a teen.
Along with Williams, the Asbury Park, NJ, event inducted fellow Jersey boys (and girls) such as the late "Sopranos" actor James Gandolfini, musician Dizzy Gillespie, writer and critic Dorothy Parker and NBA star Patrick Ewing, among others.
Springsteen, an inductee himself, and Williams have a long friendship and in a way this was his returning the favor. In 2008, Williams introduced the Boss and the E Street Band at their Red Bank, NJ, concert.