Brian Williams To MSNBC In Mid-August

Lester Holt will be the full time anchor of the NBC Nightly News it was announced today and Brian Williams will return as the cornerstone of a revamped MSNBC. The move was made by NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack to put out to major fires — finding a way to rehabilitate Williams and shoring up MSNBC’s poor ratings.

Williams six month suspension won’t end until mid-August but NBC wanted to end any speculation that Holt was going to remain the network’s primary anchor.

The network released the following statement from Lack

“Brian now has the chance to earn back everyone’s trust,” he said in the statement that confirmed that Lester Holt will be the permanent “Nightly News” host. “(Williams’) excellent work over 22 years at NBC News has earned him the opportunity at MSNBC.”

According to the New York Times, Williams will join MSNBC as anchor of breaking news and special reports. The move is a humbling blow for him both professionally and financially. Williams will earn less money in his new role than he was as anchor of the “Nightly News,’’ according to an NBC executive with knowledge of the agreement, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The person characterized it as “substantially’’ less money, but would not be more specific.

At 56 Williams will begin the new job in mid-August, which was when his six-month suspension was supposed to end. In his new job, he will also fill in on breaking news events for NBC when Mr. Holt is unavalable, the network said.

“As you would imagine this was a difficult decision,” Lack’s boss, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke, said. “Brian Williams has been with NBC News for a very long time and he has covered countless news events with honor and skill. As I said in February, we believe in second chances, and I am hopeful that this new beginning will be good for Brian and the organization.”

Burke optimistically added, “This matter has been extensively analyzed and deliberated on by NBC. We are moving forward.”

There has not been any additional plans on what a newly re-figured MSNBC will look like come this fall.



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.