Brian Williams is unlikely to return to the anchor chair at “NBC Nightly News,” and it’s a long shot that he’ll remain at NBC at all, according to media reports saying the network is close to making a decision.
NBC News chairman Andrew Lack told the news staff at a meeting last week that the situation, which has been dragging on for four months, would be resolved shortly. An individual familiar with the situation at the network told TheWrap on Thursday, however, that no decision about Williams’ future at NBC has been made.
Negotiations are said to have grown acrimonious. NBC suspended Williams in February for overstating his role in a perilous helicopter flight during the Iraq war. Lack is close to Williams and network brass have toyed with various ways of keeping him in-house, but it would clearly be difficult for the former high-flying anchor to accept a diminished role.
His temporary replacement Lester Holt may also be slowing things down by demanding a salary to match what Williams was getting paid while anchoring.
The New York Post reports that Holt is asking for the same $10 million salary that Williams was earning, as per a lucrative new contract he inked last year. Holt reportedly makes $4 million, at the moment, as a weekend anchor.
The individual familiar with the situation that spoke to TheWrap could not confirm that the network is negotiating with Holt and his agent.
Ratings have slipped since Williams left, and the news division — as well as the news media — have become restive awaiting a final decision.