Anchor and network reach tentative agreement for undisclosed new role
Brian Williams has reached an agreement with NBC that will keep him at the network, but not in the anchor chair at “NBC Nightly News.”
CNN’s Brian Stelter reports the tentative agreement will keep Williams at NBC after his six-month suspension is lifted in August, but he will not return to the anchor chair which is now occupied by Lester Holt.
Wall Street Journal reports Holt will be announced as the new permanent anchor of “NBC Nightly News.”
Williams’ new role is unknown, even for most executives inside NBC, according to the new CNN report, though the company is expected to make a formal announcement soon.
Reports broke in late May that NBC and Williams were in talks for the anchor to leave “Nightly News” but remain with the network.
The May report also said that NBC News chairman Andy Lack backed the idea of keeping Williams, and asked employees to “think creatively” in terms of a place for the former “Nightly News” anchor.
Williams is currently in the fifth month of a six-month suspension for exaggerating about his Iraq War experience, erroneously saying that he was on a helicopter that was shot down by RPG fire.
Once that story was shown to be untrue, NBC News suspended Williams and opened an internal investigation. Reports indicate other inconsistencies in Williams’ reporting have been found, including his reporting from the Arab Spring, covering the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah and more.
In the interim, Holt has served as substitute anchor of the network’s weeknight newscast.
In the May sweeps period, ABC’s “World News Tonight” beat “Nightly News” by 62,000 viewers 25-54 and by 15,000 18-49, as TheWrap previously reported. The last time ABC bested NBC in either of those demos was 2007.
In total viewers, however, the order was reversed. Lester Holt’s NBC program eclipsed David Muir’s ABC offering by 35,000 audience members, 7.708 million viewers to 7.673 million.
NBC has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.