The Brian Williams scandal is spurring a shakeup in NBC News’ executive ranks. The network is in talks with its news division’s former president, Andrew Lack, to negotiate his return in a chief operation role, an insider familiar with the talks told TheWrap.
Lack is in the mix for a leading position in the news group, potentially overseeing NBCUniversal’s news group, which includes NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC; Pat Fili-Krushel currently holds that position. With Lack’s return, Fili-Krushel would stay with the company in a different role. NBC News President Deborah Turnesss will keep her role.
Lack served as president of NBC News from 1993 to 2001, before leaving. In September, he left Bloomberg Media Group to become CEO of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
Under Fili-Krushel, who assumed her position as Chairman of news operations in 2012, NBC, MSNBC and CNBC have all fallen in the ratings.
“Meet the Press” dropped behind in the Sunday show pack, leading to months of gossip and speculation about moderator David Gregory’s fate. He was eventually cut from NBC News in 2014 in a long, drawn-out process similar to Ann Curry’s messy exit from the “Today” show.
MSNBC also fell behind CNN last year in all measurements save for primetime viewers. And, of course, the figurehead of NBC News — Williams — fell from grace in February as revelations emerged that he exaggerated stories from his Iraq war reporting, the worst being his conflation of a ride on a helicopter that was shot down by RPG fire with his actual tour on a trailing chopper that was not hit.
NBC News suspended Williams for six months without pay.
And there have also been problems in the morning, as Fili-Krushel and NBC News president Deborah Turness’ prized acquisition from ESPN/ABC — Jamie Horowitz — flamed out quickly as General Manager of the “Today” Show.
Horowitz was snagged by NBC to help restore “Today” to the top spot in morning news. He lasted 78 days, fired after Fili-Krushel and Turness caught wind of his purported tactic of pitting talent and producers against one another, leading his superiors to believe that he was trying to figure out who should stay and who should go.
It should be noted, NBC has seen ratings improvement as of late: Chuck Todd has returned “Meet the Press” to a competitive position, winning among the Sunday shows outright on Sunday, February 22nd. “Today” is also closing its gap to first-place “Good Morning America,” now beating the ABC program in the 25-54 demo on specific days in the last weeks.
NBC News declined to comment on the record to the TheWrap’s request for comment.
Variety was first to report this story.