Tom Brokaw Breaks Silence on Brian Williams: ‘Really, Really Serious Case’

“Brian and I had a cordial relationship,” former “Nightly News” host says about suspended host

Tom Brokaw broke his silence Monday about his “Nightly News” successor Brian Williams, who is in month three of a six-month suspension.

The Williams ordeal is a “really, really, serious case,” Brokaw said at a University of Chicago Institute of Politics event.

“There’s a process underway,” he said. “And the important thing is that the process is very carefully constructed, and we owe it to everybody — including Brian and his family and certainly the people who work at NBC News who risk their lives everyday, and to the integrity of what NBC News has stood for all these years — to let the process play out, to hear what the final conclusions are and then deal with it at that point.”

An NBC News insider told TheWrap that as the process continues, the newsroom is divided on Williams’ fate. For executives, it’s become more challenging in recent weeks, as ABC News’ “World News Tonight” with David Muir has overtaken NBC in total viewers for the first time in five years, winning two weeks in a row.

Brokaw also addressed rumors that he and Williams have a bad relationship, as outlined in an explosive report recently published by Vanity Fair, which painted a picture of embitterment by Williams toward Brokaw for having never embraced him.

“There’s been way too much speculation about it,” Brokaw said. “Brian and I had a cordial relationship. You know, it was tricky because he succeeded me and I had my own strong feelings about how things should be done, but I never interfered with it. And I would make suggestions from time to time.”

Brokaw also took a shot at Bill O’Reilly, recounting a past interview with the author of this post, wherein I asked if network newscasts were in danger of extinction.

“If Bill O’Reilly, who’s widely perceived by a lot of people to be the most popular guy on television news, if he were competing against the three networks, he’d be in a distant fourth place,” Brokaw said at the time.

“He went nuts when that got out,” Brokaw reflected on Monday. “‘I’m on cable, it’s different and I’m the number one guy on cable’ and, you know, he just attacked me for three nights running. I don’t get in arguments with Bill O’Reilly because it’s just not worth it, frankly.”