NBC Benches Brian Williams For Six Months

“NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams is being suspended for six months without pay following revelations that he exaggerated tales from an Iraq War mission in 2003.

Tuesday night’s announcement  benching the face of its news division to penalize him for what the CEO of NBCUniversal, Steve Burke, called “inexcusable” actions. Burke and Williams met for at least three hours on Tuesday afternoon before the NBC CEO made the announcement via press release of the suspension.

Meanwhile, NBC’s investigative unit is continuing to fact-check Williams’ past reports, and could come up with more damaging revelations.

Still, Burke said in a statement, “He deserves a second chance and we are rooting for him. Brian has shared his deep remorse with me and he is committed to winning back everyone’s trust.”

Mediaite founder and former NBC News colleague of Williams,  Dan Abrams said on CNN that NBC was most likely worried about other fabrications surfacing, as an internal investigation has created “concerns about comments that occurred outside NBC News while Brian was talking about his experiences in the field,” according to a statement from NBC President Deborah Turness.

Meanwhile, with Williams suspended for 6 months, it will be Lester Holt in anchor chair for those choosing to watch “NBC Nightly News.” He’s been filling in for Williams for almost a decade and he’s a friendly face in the halls of NBC News. Holt is a calming force and should help NBC News avoid anymore on air scandal while the Williams saga plays out over the next six months.

CBS was quick to take advantage of Williams credibility issues by rolling out a series of promotional with members of their news team talking about the importance of getting the story right and building trust with the viewers. It was a little bit odd to see those spots since it was CBS that had their own issues with their own star anchor back in 2005.

The CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather was caught up in a controversy of his own. At  issue was  a disputed news report involving President George W. Bush’s Vietnam-era service in the National Guard and subsequently led to his being let go from CBS after 43 years with the network in 2006.

For now we don’t know if Williams will be back in six months or not but for now I would not count him out.


Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.