My observation: some of these cities are not NBC O&O's, so some of their most trusted affiliates have been enrolled in this effort. Lester Holt would be my vote for Nightly News anchor on a permanent basis, but that's a personal opinion given his journalistic and ethical chops. That NBC would undertake a supporting effort like this is a bit confusing, but welcome.
(Media buyers told Gannett stations they did not want their commercials airing in the middle of the night for free? Something tells me some ABC folks leaned on favorite clients.)
Speaking of overnights...
A decade ago, I put together a presentation for Jim Rogers, then owner of the NBC station in Las Vegas, proposing to NBC that KVBC be allowed to re-run much of NBC's news programming overnight, given Las Vegas' 24 hour city and audience. The thought was to create a digital all news channel with all local and NBC newscasts being time-shifted by several hours, with Today Show being aired in prime for those waking up for overnight shift jobs.
However, the presentation went by the wayside when Jim Rogers decided to show the visiting GE folks his car museum rather than discuss programming.